Saturday, December 25, 2010

On Holiday

It has been a wild and crazy time lately.  Along with getting ready for the Christmas holiday, we have also been getting ready to go on vacation.  This will be my last post until the new year (specifically January 4, 2011).  Where are we going?  Well we are driving a little over 1000 miles to end up in Orlando Florida.  Not to Disney World this year (Shocked?  Me too.  This will be the first time in 10 years we have not gone to visit the mouse).  In stead, this year we are going to be staying at Universal Studios which has the Wizarding World of Harry Potter now opened.  Yes, I am quite the Potter fan.  We even have reservations at the Three Broomsticks for Breakfast (butterbeer...pumpkin juice....)  I will share our travels and trials of our trip once we get home.  I am vacationing sans laptop this year.  I want a real vacation without worrying about what I am not getting done.  So no laptop!

Want to know what Santa brought me?  It was a lovely present orgy, that I can tell ya.  I am ecstatic as I did in fact get a Kindle.  Woo Hoo!  What is even more lovely?  I searched for Courtney Rene and up popped Shadow Dancer, first shot!  Love it!  I see there are a load of Free Books you can download.  Anyone know of a good free read?  I give my review of the Kindle after I have had time to play with it.  Like during the two days we are in the car back and forth.

I also was lucky enough to get a new elliptical machine.  Ipod attachment, heart rate monitor and all!  I can't wait to set it up and get to sweating.  No, really, I can't wait.  Esp. since I will be pigging out all during holiday on everything I fancy.

Thank you to all my friends and fans that sent me Harry and David Gummie Bears!  It was such a lovely gift and thoughtful present.  Sadly, I am an addict when it comes to H&D Gummies and I only have one bag left and only because I was saving it for our trip.  I had to pack it away otherwise, I would have oinked those down as well.

Well all, I'm off.  Take care and have a safe and happy new year. I will post ASAP and hopefully will even have a few photos.  Woo Hoo!

Merry Christmas.


Monday, December 20, 2010

End of the Year - 2010

Wow, here we are at the end of the year already.  I can't believe how fast it went.  It has been a hard and busy year, but also very rewarding.  I reached all of my writing goals for the year, which I am very proud of.  Next year will be harder as I believe I will need to up the stakes a bit just to keep myself fighting.  I am thinking about what my goals for the new year should be and I will post them soon.  

I am getting ready to revamp my website as well so my list of "where to find me" will be gone with the start of 2011.  Therefore, I am compiling here on my blog before I erase. 

So let's take a look at what this year brought with regard to Publishing:


Shadow Dancer - Released September 2010.  Available through http://www.roguephoenixpress.com/, http://www.amazon.com/, and http://www.barnesandnoble.com/.


1.    Living Dead Press – End of Days 4: - Tomorrow (See http://www.amazon.com/ or http://www.livingdeadpress.com/)

2.    Living Dead Press – Dark Dreams: Tales of Terror - Moon Mist (See http://www.amazon.com/ or http://www.livingdeadpress.com/)

3.    Unearthed Press - Anthology - Blood Moon Rising (Available at http://www.amazon.com/ or http://www.unearthedpress.com/)

4.    Living Dead Press - Ghostly Tales of Terror Anthology - Truth (Available at http://www.amazon/ and www.Livingdeadpress.com)


TBA:           Crows Toes Quarterly - (Life of the Living)

February:  http://www.storiesforchildrenmagazine.com/  (Pass the Salt)

July:            http://www.goldenvisionsmagazine.biz/ - (Angels in the Night)

August:      http://www.storiesthatlift.com/ - (Scritch)

October:    http://www.storiesthatlift.com/ - (A Squirrels Day)

November:  Nature Friend Magazine - (A Squirrels Day)

TBA:           http://www.bumples.com/ - (Jeremiah the Hedgehog)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dear Santa

I stole this idea from another blog that I like to visit, but as it was a cute post, I figured why not?  As Christmas is now Eleven (11) days away, what are your wishes from the big red guy?  I sat myself down and decided to write him a letter.  It is as follows:

Dear Santa:

It’s been quite the year for me let me tell ya. I have tried very hard to be a good girl this year and I know that there were times I may have crossed the line from good to….not quite good, but I don’t believe in general that I have been bad. 

There were births, which I cried over, and deaths, which I sobbed over.  Plenty of accomplishments, and way to many disappointments, but all in all, I think I have weathered them as well as I was able.

In case I am deserving, I have put together a short….ish list of things I would like this year for Christmas.

1.                  My children to be safe and healthy throughout the coming year.  I’m sure I will renew this wish again next year as always.

2.                  Harry and David Gummy Bears if you can spare a few.

3.                  A Kindal, as I have decided, last minute I know, that I may actually like one and use it.

4.                  Continual sales of Shadow Dancer.

5.                  The acceptance of my next novel, A Howl in the Night.

6.                  Safe and Happy Holidays for my friends and family

7.                  A pair of black or dark brown Ugg Moccasins (They look so warm and comfy.  Maybe if I have them I wont complain about the cold so much…maybe?). 

8.                  A gift certificate to Barnes and Noble or Borders so that I can go on a book spree.  That would be lovely…..

9.                  A desk with a writing area and printer and space all of my very own.  That I can leave messy and cluttered without anyone getting annoyed. 

10.              A lastly, I wish for a short winter.  Its still autumn and ice and snow have worn me down already.  I miss the sun. 

Hope you are well.  Send the reindeer my love.  I will be setting out a bowl of food just for them on Christmas Eve.  It will be on the porch as always. 

Courtney Rene

Now here's what you can do to play along.  Write your own letter to santa.  You can write it directly in the comments section or you can write it for your blog or whatnot and just put a link to your letter in them comments so that we can find it.  Better get to it, Santa's running out of time peeps!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Shadow Dancer Review

I am happy to announce that there is a new review up for Shadow Dancer. You can find it here: Shadow Dancer Review.  I also completed an interview, which you can find here:  Author Interview  I have to say this is a great site for information in the literary world for fiction.  Go on over and check it out.  Really, go.

Another week has come to a close and we are now 15 days away from Christmas.  I was going to run over to Old Navy on my lunch hour today, as it's only really 10 minutes away usually, but the moment I pulled out of the office drive, I realized there was no way I was going to make it.  There were people and traffic everywhere.  So instead I went over to the dollar store.  Why?  The district in which I reside sent home a list of items to bring in that can be donated to people in need this Christmas. 

I'm not a Grinch in general, but I hate it when people put caveats on what we are allowed to donate.  Now, before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, I am a huge donator to charities in general.  I give often to the ASPCA, Kidney Foundation, Goodwill, Salvation Army, the US Veterans Fund, and so on and so on.  I can't go past one of those little coin kettles without dropping in any change that I have in my pockets.  I'm a sap.  However, seeing the list sent home was a bit annoying.  It was a LONG list of everything that you can possible think of that is not Christmas oriented.  What annoyed me the most though was the term "New" placed in the request. 

If a person is truly needy do you think they give a flying monkey butt whether or not a child's down winter coat I have to donate was worn before?  It's practically new, but it is not in fact "new".  Or the toys that I could donate.  They are all well taken care of but again they are used (including a leapfrog that was purchased with good intentions and yet was only used maybe twice).  Instead for the holiday season they want tampons, and toothbrushes.  Merry Christmas, here's some q-tips.  Yeesh. 

So as I was saying, today I went to the dollar store and purchased about 12 pairs of mittens and gloves of which I will donate.  They were on the list and they are in fact new.  I guess the coat and toys I can give to goodwill.  I am sure they will be happy to pass them along to someone in need. 

Monday, December 6, 2010


I saw the new Kindle e-reader the other day.  I also went over to Barnes and Noble and played with the Nook.  I have to say....they are really kinda fun to play with.  That still begs the question though, would I use it?  Would I get as much out of it as I do a book.  Will the flipping of the computer page take me out of the fantasy?  Will I miss the smell of the printed pages?

So I thought of a list of reasons to buy it, and there aren't very many:

1.  The cost of an e-book is usually $3.99.  The cost of print book is around $7.99.  So I would save more money on the books I would buy and may in fact be able to buy more books in the long run.

2.  I wouldn't have to store any of the books I buy.  I also wouldn't have to find them new homes after I have read them if I don't wish to keep them.  No heavy bags to drop-off to Goodwill or Half-Prices books. 

3.  Not having to search through bins in the basement for books as all I would have to do is pull up an index.  Save me time, frustration, and energy with just a touch of a screen.

4.  No carrying around 4-5 different books in my purse or car or whatever.  Just one item to carry. 

The list of why not?  Is a bit longer, but the highlights are:

1.  I would miss the ease of a book.  The non-thought page turning.  Not having to wait for it to turn on and find the book and the page I want.  Just grab, open, and go.

2.  I like the smell of a book.  The paper, the ink, the dust.  I don't know why.  It's a thing I have.

3.  The cost of a Kindle is $139...the Nook is even more than that. 

4.  Batteries.  I don't need any batteries for my books.  None.  They never loose power. 

So if you have an e-reader, what are your thoughts of them?  Are they as great as they appear?  What are your own pro's and con's.   I would love to know as I still am contemplating the purchase.  Esp. with Christmas right around the corner...19 days ya'll.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Motivation? Anyone?

Happy Friday!  There are officially 22 days until Christmas.  I’m sure we are all excited for the glut of presents about to come our way.  I am asking Santa for Harry and David Gummy Bears.  Yes, really.  I will be finishing up my Christmas packages that need to be mailed out this weekend.  Once that is out of the way, the season is smooth. 

I love this time of year.  Not the snow and cold and ice so much (yuck) but the idea of it all:  rebirth, giving, family, cookies.  I just wish I had more time.  With all the hustle and bustle and such, I don’t have as much time to write as I would like.  I have the first draft of Book 2 in the Shadow Dancer series almost complete, and I have the last bit of revisions to complete on my novel, A Howl in the Night, yet I can’t seem to find more than an hour at a time to sit down.  I can’t get motivated in that amount of time.  It’s frustrating me. 

Now that it’s cold and icy and yucky, I am wondering what do other people do to get motivated.  Not even just about writing but about anything.  Usually I will go for a walk, or soak up some sunshine, but that’s out.  All there is outside is bitter cold and grayness.  Not much to inspire out there.  Besides, I can’t go out into the woods right now, as Deer season has begun and my luck I would end up shot.  Sometimes I exercise, but I’m just not in the mood for that.  No, Yoga either. 

So how do you get motivated?  What works for you?  A handful of chocolate?  A bit of meditation?  Come on, I need some ideas!  Help a girl out, will ya?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Review: Tangled

Went to see the new Disney movie, Tangled, this weekend.  I have to say, it was a pretty good flick.  I love the story of Rapunzel.  I have read it from many different adaptations and this one, was a great way to do it.  The characters were enjoyable and funny.  The charming chameleon, the dog like horse, as well as band of sensitive bandits and bad guys. 

Our “prince” is not a prince at all, but an orphan turned thief, with a heart.  What’s that called?  A diamond in the rough?  Yeah, that’s what he was.  Plus he was funny in his own way as well as not being overly charming, which I hate.  To me, it sets a bad example for children.  Sets impossible expectations for the future, you know?  Another plus was that he did not charge in and save the day.  Yes, really!  Oh he helped, but it was not simply a damsel in distress saved by a prince kind of story…

Which brings us to Rapunzel.  She was a naïve, yet strong, yet frightened, yet determined young woman.  Yes, she is beautiful, but that is not really the story.  Its just more visionaryily (is that a word?) appealing I would say.  A loving mother, who has taught her that the outside world is dangerous, has raised her.  Telling her that the people outside are bad and dangerous and will hurt her if she should ever leave her safe home/tower.  On her birthday though she has but one wish.  She sets off on a journey to see the fire lanterns that are released every year on her birthday.  She wants to see them for real, not just from her window.  She does not set out to discover herself or whatever, she just wants to be a part of the lanterns, just once. It is along the way to see the lights that her life journey begins.  It’s a good one too. 

That’s all I’m going to say about the story as there is so much more to it.  Magic and wonder.  Why is her hair so long?  You will have to watch the movie to see.  I did enjoy the movie, all the laughter and tears and wonderment.  I will be buying the DVD, which says something. 

Friday, November 26, 2010


My latest guest blog post is up.  I like this one.  It has pictures and everything.  You can find it here: When I'm not Writing

It’s the beginning of the holiday rush.  Thanksgiving was a nice break from work and the usual rush.  I lay in bed last night thinking how different the world has become since the first Thanksgiving.  Although the turkey maybe the same, what about the fish?  Yes there was corn, but where was the squash?  Pumpkin pie I don’t think counts.  When I think of the pilgrims I wonder what they were thankful for.  I would say maybe just to be alive, to have survived.  What are we thankful for now?  Truthfully?  From what I hear around me, I would say it all comes down to “stuff”.  As I sat last night watching tv, every commercial was about sales, and black Friday and buying.  It’s a bit disgusting actually.
Not that I am against presents, but the commercialization is overwhelming.  I refused to get up at three in the morning to save five bucks.  My sleeping is worth the money.  Besides lack of sleep and me just don't get along.  Really, we don't.  This year is just seems to be a bit worse than usual.  Some stores opened back up on Thanksgiving for pre-black Friday sales.  What the?  The poor employee’s of these stores didn’t even get to spend the whole holiday.  That’s horrible.  Yes we are in a tight economy and job market, so let’s take advantage of all the people that desperately need jobs and money right now.  It’s shameful. 
Yes, I will be going to stores as I can, and I will be buying what I intend to buy, all on the budget I set last January.  I will be sleeping in on my days off from work.  That’s what a holiday is to me:  A day off from work and getting to sleeping in.  I will also be spending time with my family, not in big crowds and long lines.  After all they are the gifts in this life that I cherish, nothing else is as important.

On a separate note:  The new Taylor swift album?  Wow.  I don’t think there is one song that I don’t like on it.  Just sharing. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Heavy Words

Just a quick reminder to check out the Author Letter Contest.  You can find it below or here:  Shooting Stars Mag
So, I was talking to a friend recently and it was discussed how particularly rude the word “should” happens to be.  Have you ever thought about that word?  I hadn’t, not really anyway.  You should buy this.  You should try that.  How demanding.  I never thought about that word, in that way.  Not until it was brought to my attention.  As I try to be as non-demanding as I can be, this took me by surprise.  I am a big sayer of “Oh, you should try this!  Or:   Oh my gosh, you should buy these!  Talk about telling someone what to do!  Yikes, never realized.... 

This brings to mind that there are loads of things we say to people and we don’t really pay attention to the strength behind them or the emotions they invoke.  One that I have found to bring out the most defensive emotions in people when used is:  Why?  Such a small little word, and yet the tone behind it tends to bring out the worst in people.  I use this word all the time, much to the displeasure of some.  I want to understand, I want to be educated, I want to know why? The aggravation this little word brings, I find comical.  I am not in any way shape or form questioning someone’s intelligent, or facts, or character.  I have learned that there are just some people that can’t take this word.  I still want to know why?

Another strong word?  How about So?  So what, or so as in “and?”.  Hoo buddy, this is a mean use of a word and yet…it is not used with that intention, at least not by me.  This follows right behind the word why.  It is more of a fact search than an insult and yet people tend to jump into thinking, that I am being insulting.  I can't win.

I think what this means is that I should work on finding lighter words.  But why?  So what?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Letters to Your Favorite Authors: Contest and Prize Pack Giveaway

Letters to Your Favorite Authors: Contest and Prize Pack Giveaway

Contest hosted by:  Shooting Stars Mag.

Whether you've read the book, David Inside Out or not, this is still one week that you want to pay attention to.

In Lee's novel, the main character David and his best friend Eddie write letters to their favorite authors. This sparked the idea of this contest. 

At this point, four bloggers (one is an author herself - me) will be writing a letter to our favorite or one of our favorites as I have so many, author and then it will be posted on our blog. You must check out their respective blogs, on their particular date, to find the letter though. By doing so, leaving your thoughts, and even following the various blogs...you get entered into a prize pack (more prizes will be added as this goes along so keep an eye on the list).


Okay, Here is my letter to one of my favorite authors, Julie Garwood.
Dear Ms. Garwood:

Hello!  I finally, after all these years broke down and decided to write you a letter.  Am I your biggest fan?  I don’t know, but I am definitely a huge one.  I am certain that most people would think that Stephen King would be my favorite author, but they would be wrong.  Although I am big fan of Mr. King, his stories always leave me feeling creeped out and icky, which is the whole point of his stories and I love him for it.  However, at the end of your stories, I feel happy and complete and wish there was more to come.  That is definitely a preferred feeling, in my mind. 

I must say your historical books are my favorite (The Bride, Ransom, Secret), but your thrillers are just as exciting and entertaining (FBI Series).  Most books I will read and then off they go to used bookstores or Goodwill, but not yours.  They are stored nicely in their very own plastic bin, so that I can pull them out whenever I need a good read with a happy ending. 

As a writer myself, although a new one, I have to say that I have learned so much from you.  Yes, you write for the adult genre and I the teen, but regardless, your story telling abilities have really helped me and taught me many, many great things.  You have made me a better writer and storyteller.  Thank you for that. 

Very Truly Yours

Courtney Rene
Author and Fan

Here is the schedule so far in case you missed any:

Tuesday, Nov. 16- Eleni from http://www.lafemmereaders.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, Nov. 17- Courtney from http://www.ctnyrene.blogspot.com/
Thursday, Nov. 18-Cass from http://bonjourcass.blogspot.com/
Friday, Nov. 19-Brent from http://naughtybookkitties.blogspot.com/

Rules to Enter the Giveaway:

+1 you will get a point for each letter you comment on. That is a chance to earn four points. (leave a new comment on this blog each time you do though!)

+2 for every single blog you follow, including Let's Get Beyond Tolerance. That is a chance to earn ten points (leave two new comments for each blog you follow)

If you have any questions, please let me know.

The giveaway will end November 30th and it's open to U.S. only, I'm afraid.
Prize List

A signed copy of David Inside Out by Lee Bantle donated by the author
$5 Amazon Gift Code donated by Lauren
$10 Starbucks Gift Certficate donated by Courtney
ARC of I’ll Get There, It Better Be Worth the Trip by John Donovan donated by Cass
Fat Chance by Leslea Newman donated by Cass
--more may be added!

Eleni will have her own, separate giveaway on La Femme Readers that goes along with the author she wrote. Be sure to follow those rules there!

Note to Bloggers: a lot of bloggers were, unfortunately, unable to write a letter for this, so I'm hoping to do something similar with more bloggers posting letters and a bigger prize pack in the new year. If you want to help, let me know.

Amazon Associates: buy the book from the above link, and we get a small percentage to support the site.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What’s Holding you Back?

As I had previously mentioned, I did not sign up for Nano this month.  I didn’t figure I would have the time to devote to it, and well, all the other etc. etc. etc.  And yet, here I am at day 12 of the month and not only have I stayed right on target with the 50,000 words (I’m at 19,300 as of this morning) I am really enjoying the write. 

I wonder now, if I had signed up for Nano and committed to the contest and the words, would I be anywhere near the amount of words that I am now?  I would say…Nope.  Not hardly.  Why?  Well, to be blunt, I don’t work well under pressure.  Oh, time frames are fine.  I am great with that, just not the constant pressure to perform.  It squelches all my creativity as well as my desire.  Plus, I have to admit, that when I am forcing myself to do something, it kinda ends up on the stinky side.

I know Nano is supposed to be fun and it’s all part of the drive to have a first draft of a novel completed in one month’s time, but that’s a lot of pressure for someone like me.  I never REALLY know when I am going to have quality time to just sit down, focus, and write.  Too much stress for me, at least for this year.  Maybe next year I will give it a whirl. 

Am I the only one like this?  I hope not. 

As to my WIP (that’s “Work In Progress” for all you lay people) My book, Shadow Warrior (the sequel to Shadow Dancer) is going very nicely.  Sunny is having a grand time in Acadia. Yes, of course I jest. If it were all sunshine and roses for her, why would you want to read about it?  I hope that I can continue throughout this month to have Sunny’s story flow as easily.  I would love to have the first draft completed by months end.  I guess, Nano or no Nano, we will see. 

Have a great weekend everyone.  See ya Monday

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Songs for Books

For those of you that have read Shadow Dancer, would you like to know what Sunny and Lief's song is?  Well I will tell ya, it's:  Love Remains the Same, by Gavin Rossdale.  How did this song get picked?  It is one that I heard on the radio at the time I was writing.  I liked it so much, I put it on my ipod.  Whenever I was writing a good romantic part for the book I would inevitably go to that song.  It stuck.  Now whenever I think of this book I think of that song.  I hear it on the radio and I see Sunny dancing in the dark of a bar. 

I am not one of those people that needs complete silence to write.  Which is a very good thing as my life is anything but silent.  I like the noise of people and life and I love the noise of music in the background.  If it is too quiet, I can't concentrate and will end up more often then not, plugging in my ipod and cranking it up.

Depending on the scenes I am writing or the characters, the music choices change.  War and battle scenes I want harsh classical (I know, I'm a bit weird now and then), love...well I want songs of feeling.  It doesn't matter if its country or rap, rock or pop, if it is a song with emotion all in it, I'll use it.

Some of my favorites?  Well just to name a few off the top of my mind....

Graffiti Eyes - by Stellastar
Let's Get Lost - by Beck and Bat Lashers
Just Breathe - by Pearl Jam
Yellow - by Cold Play
Sweet Disposition - by the Temper Trap

Tomorrow this list will be different.  Its every changing as with my day to day life.  Do you use music for inspiration?  What are some of your favorites?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Good vs. Evil

Just in case you haven’t check out my very first guest blog, here is the site one more time:  http://www.annastan.com/2010/11/letter-to-myself-courtney-rene/

I was reading this week that in non-adult books, all the “bad” people in stories need/should have a redeeming quality in them.  It is suppose to make them more personable and more likeable even though they are in fact, the bad guy.  My question….Why?

In the real world, some people are just evil.  There is not one single thing that is redeeming about them.  I know, as I have met a couple in my lifetime.  Here’s another shocker, it’s not always a guy either.  Women are just as capable of being evil as men.  We all say, “Well of course.  We know that.”  But do you.  Do you really?  Most people have both good and bad qualities in them.  However, I am not talking about good and bad here.  I’m talking about the truly evil.  Would you know the difference if you saw it?  Something to think about, eh?

My real concern and question is, why do ‘we’ insist on teaching our children that even though there is evil out there, there is still good in them, you just have to find it.  They just need love and compassion.  Oh vomit!  I don’t want my children, or any children for that matter, to be come face to face with evil and instead of running for their lives, instead they stop to see if they can find the good inside the evil.  Are we that stupid that we believe that our children or we ourselves will never really be faced with any type of real evil?  I would hope not.  What’s that saying about an ounce of prevention?

I write sometimes about the darkness that I see in the world all around me.  I may wrap it all up in fantasy, but in the end, it’s as close to non-fiction as I can make it.  Maybe it’s my way of teaching about it, and maybe it’s just my way of bringing attention to it.  I don’t really know, but what I do know is that I teach my children that evil is not to be greeting with friendship.  Evil is to be feared, but also overcome.  After all, good must conquer all, right?  Otherwise where will we be? 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Guest Blogs for November

Here we are, Monday again and the start of November. This month I will be doing several guest blogs.  The first one is up and ready for you to visit.  You can find it here:  http://www.annastan.com/2010/11/letter-to-myself-courtney-rene/  It looks really good.  This is a great site to check out and browse around in. 

November is also Nano Month.  I thought long and hard about joining in on the competition and such, but decided that in reality, I just really don’t have the time this year.  I am still tweaking and prodding and finishing up “A Howl in the Night” (we all know how much I just love revisions and editing).  I am also now working on “Shadow Warrior”, which it is really taking a big chuck of my time right now.  So to all the writers who are participating in Nano this year, good luck!  Maybe I will join in with you next year.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Reviews: Witch Child and Princess Ben

Happy Friday!  Sales for Shadow Dancer seem to be going very well.  Thank you everyone for your support of my first solo novel.  I would love to hear from you if you have read it.  As I am working on book 2 of the Acadia Series (Shadow Warrior), any feedback would be great. 

Just finished reading Princess Ben, by Catherine G. Murdock.  This is a YA Fantasy Fiction and I have to say, was such a nice read.  It’s the story of a girl that due to several sudden deaths finds herself poised to take her place as Princess and upon marriage, Queen.  Of course nothing in life is that easy.  There are dragons, sorcery, slavery and love.  It’s a coming of age novel in a fantasy world.  Yes, it’s a great book.  Also, there are little side moments of several other fairytales mingled in, only with an odd twist.  Once I realized their existence, I found myself waiting for the next one to come along and how it would be told.  I wont tell you about any one of them, as that would spoil the fun.  Truly, fun read.  

I also read this week, Witch Child, by Celia Rees.  I picked this up on a whim, not even really knowing what it was about until I opened it.  Witch Child is a story based on fact of a young girl that journeys from England to the new world of Salem during the witch hunts.  Although I recognized most of the names used in the story, I didn’t realize it was truly based on real events, until I reached the very last page, where the author asked if you have additional knowledge of any of the people or events listed to contact her.  I have read and researched that time period several times and hope to visit Salem one of these days.  The story was very interesting if a bit dull now and then with the ordinary, but I think that was intentional.  I truly enjoyed the easy read in the end and found it quite fascinating. 

That’s it for this week guys.  Have a great weekend and Happy Halloween. 

To find the above referenced books, you can go here:
Princess Ben
Witch Child

Monday, October 25, 2010

Is it just me or are people less polite these days?

Took the children to the zoo this weekend to attend “Boo at the Zoo”.  This is a great day to attend, as not only do the children get to dress up in their costumes, the zoo has sponsors that set up “treat stations” where they give out free candy to the kids and information about their services to the adults.  So as you are looking at the new Polar Bear exhibit (which was awesome by the way) you can be snacking on tootsie rolls, or milky ways. 

The day was lovely.  A nice 65-70 degrees, depending on where the sun was, and the animals were all out and lively.  The day wasn’t all that crowded and we were able to see the animals instead of being rushed right by them.  The grizzlies and the wolves were a treat to see, as they weren’t just lying down.  They were prowling around to the ohs and ahs of the masses.  It really was a wonderful day. 

Then you had the treat stations.  These aren’t small stations by the way.  They consist of a big tables decorated by the sponsors and then there seemed to be 2-4 sponsors manning the tables.  There is a line for each one.  There just is.  I can’t tell you how many times I watched people get in front of the line, swipe the candy and dash off.  You couldn’t wait in the line like everyone else?  You had to “ditch” little children for a piece of mini candy?  Yeesh.  Then you have the ones that put their small children in the line to wait by themselves, and then they go off to look at the animals.  No further comment on that one, except to say, that I found myself keeping an eye out for these children just in case they had a problem.  I don’t know why.  I’m a sap, I guess.   Finally, my worst complaint?  The crowding up behind my children and me.  Seriously, this makes me nutty.  Let me just say, the more you crawl up my butt, the less likely I am to move forward.  Really.  Do people not realize that breathing down my neck is not going to get them to the candy any faster?  I expect it from the children.  The whole point is for the children after all.  I don’t expect it from the adults.  Personal space people!

What does this have to do about writing?  Not one thing.  I am just sharing a thought that has been on my mind lately.  What is with the loss of manners and polite society?  I miss the days of “thank-you” and “please”.  It just seems like the world has changed to a get-what-you-can-before-someone-else-does mentality.  It’s really sad actually. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Life Lessons

First, I wanted to let you all know that Shadow Dancer is now also available at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ as an ebook.  Yes, really!  So if you are a NOOK user, you can now obtain Shadow Dancer.  Yay! 

This week I have been spending a load of time looking into guest blogs.  One caught my eye and my interest and I decided to participate.  I will post the particulars as I get them, but as a teaser I ask you a similar question.  If you could send a letter to yourself telling one single thing, what would it be?  What would be the most important nugget of information that you would absolutely need, have to know?  It’s hard to decide on one isn’t it? 

On the non-writing front…I would definitely tell myself NOT to go toilet papering the night of my sister’s birthday party.  It ended with tears, as well as police and criminal charges (littering – breaking curfew).  Yes, yes, I was charged with littering.  It is still on my record.  What’s funny?  I didn’t even want to go!  Figures right?  At the time, I was still trying to get my sister to like me as well as trying to fit in with the older girls at the party.  Lessons learned at 13 are rough.  I could have done without that one, thank you very much. 

On the writing front, I would tell myself to focus on writing while I was young and didn’t have quite so many responsibilities.  I think about how much further along in my writing career I would be now, if I had only stuck with it then, instead of letting life derail me from my dreams.  Better late than never right? 

So, what would your tell yourself, if you had the chance?  Come on, you know you want to share…

Monday, October 18, 2010


This week I am finishing my WIP.  You read right…FINISHING!  I got through the big revisions last week and this week I just want to give it another go through to make sure it flows and ends right.  Then I will begin the process of submission!  Oh…joy.  Maybe I will hold that thought for a bit…

I like a blog called:  Booking through Thursday.  They have a weekly question and this week’s was: If you could rewrite the ending to any book what would it be and how?  I liked this question.  There are several that could use a nice rewrite, but the first one I thought of was, the original Little Mermaid (by Hans Christian Anderson).  In his story, the little mermaid lost her prince to another woman.  The mermaid is given a choice of either killing her prince to return to her mermaid form, or dying and turning to sea foam.  She tries to kill the prince, but in the end, she loves him too much and chooses death instead.  My thoughts?  WHAT EVER!  The prince tossed the mermaid aside, married another woman, all without thought to the woman he had right before his eyes that not only once saved his life, but also truly loved him.  The morbid storyteller in me would have had the mermaid be true to her nature and kill the prince.  She would have been returned to the sea and of course lived happily ever after.  Why?  I remember reading that story and being ticked off at the ending.  Nothing happened to the prince.  Nothing.  He got the fairytale and she got to die.  You gotta love Hans and his unhappy endings.

So I pass the question on to you….if you could rewrite the endings to any book, what would it be, and how? 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Horror Movies

Just a quick reminder that the contest, hosted by Kelly Hashway (http://www.kellyhashway.com/) ends tomorrow (October 15, 2010) at noon.  If you want a chance to win a free ebook of Shadow Dancer, you need to get over there. 

October.  I love this month.  Not because of the new fall foliage or the cooler temperatures (which I in fact hate), but because it’s SCARY MOVIE MONTH.  Some people hate scary movies.  Not me.  I love them.  The chills, the rush of fear you can later laugh at yourself for, all of it.  Last weekend there was a Stephen King marathon:  Cujo, Carrie, Sleepwalkers.  As Stephen King is one of my favorite writers, a night of his movies was wonderful.  This weekend begins the Halloween nights of terror:  Scary movies every night, all the way up to Halloween night.

I was trying to decide what were my favorite scary movies.  The original “Exorcist” still to this day scares the poop right out of me.  Last year I saw the movie “Paranormal”.  Oh My Gosh!  That is one scary movie.  No blood and guts, just honest to goodness mental fear going on.  I saw that “Paranormal II” is coming out this weekend, and although I want to see it really bad, I am a bit afraid to, as the first one gave me nightmares.  It was great. 

What are you favorite things about October?  Are you a scary movie fanatic like me?  If so, what are your favorites and why?

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Contest and Interview beginning today.

With the start of a new week, I get to announce a new contest beginning today.  A fellow author and friend is hosting a contest through her website KellyHashway.com. What can you win?  You have a chance to win a free Ebook of my YA Novel, Shadow Dancer

How do you enter?  Well the rules are simple:
1. Become a member of Kelly Hashway's Books by clicking on the "Register" link on the left sidebar on her site. If you are already a member, then yay for you and move right on to rule number two!
2. Leave a comment on her blog post telling us what gift/power you would love to have most. 

Nice and easy right?  Now go and enter.  The contest is only open until noon, October 15, 2010.  Good luck! 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Book Review: Jumper - Griffin's Story

I spent part of this week catching up on some reading.  I picked up the book:  Jumper – Griffin’s Story (by Steven Gould).  I had read the first book: Jumper and I had watched the movie.  I must admit that I wasn’t all that excited about reading the Griffin book.  That all changed once I picked it up and got past the first page. 

Griffin, as we know from the movie, lost his parents when he was very young, when the Paladin group murdered them.  The story begins right before the death of Griffin’s parents and the action and the adventure and the story never stops until you reach the end and even then, you are left wanting more.  This writer did a fantastic job keeping me in the story and rooting for Griffin.  His story spans the globe and rides right along the lines created in both the previous book and the lines created in the movie. 

My only poke at the book was that it switched languages throughout.  Spanish, French, English.  Just conversations here and there, it was nothing too extensive.  I have had very rudimentary education in Spanish and French and although I could fight my way through it and get the gist of what the words meant, it stopped my forward motion in the story.  It would have been just as good without it.  

I give this book a very high rating.  Very good job, Mr. Gould.  So the next time you want a quick fun easy read, this is a good one.  I really enjoyed the read. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Shadow Dancer

Waa Hoo.  Got home from work today to find a nice big box waiting for me on my door step.  I opened it up and found to my wonderful excitement, the final print version of my book, Shadow Dancer.  It is absolutely beautiful.  It just is.  I am so excited.  I have three copies being donated to the libraries I frequent, as well as one for each of my girls and myself.  My publisher even sent me a big proof copy of the cover.  I think I will have it matted and framed.  Is that silly?  Maybe, but I will be doing it anyway. 

Only three more days left to take part in the http://luxuryreading.com/shadowdancer/ contest.  You know you want to read my book, so why not go over and enter to win a FREE ebook.  Its easy.  Just post a comment.  You can do it!  

I am working on revising my current WIP.  I hate revising.  It takes too long and too much concentrated brain effort.  I just want to write more stories.  In fact, book two in the Shadow Dancer series is calling my name and wont leave me alone.  I had to get up in the middle of the night and make notes on it.  That's just so sad. 

So the talk today was why do I not use an agent.  Truthfully?  I tried to find an agent.  I couldn't get a single one to reply to my submissions or queries.  I find that extremely rude.  However, from what I am hearing and reading, that is the new trend.  If they are interested they will get back with you.  If they aren't, you don't even rate enough on their todo list to get a rejection.  It may be the trend, but I still find it wrong.  I know that not all agents work that way and I am extremely grateful for them.  It's just a shame to me that so many now do.  

What are your thoughts on agents?  Do you use them?  Why or why not?  What do you think of the new non-response trend?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New Blog

Welcome to my new and improved blog.  I hope that in updating to a more user friendly blog, I will feel more inclined to post.  So far it seems more Courtney friendly, so that is something. 

Don't forget to check out my contest that is currently going on until October 8, 2010 through Luxuryreading.com.  You have an opportunity to win a free ebook of Shadow Dancer.  All you need to do to enter is comment.  What do you have to lose?  Comment once or ten times.  The more you comment the more chances you have to win. 

Let me know what you think of the new blog.  I would love to hear your comments.