Month: January 2016

Weekend Edition – Accomplishing Your Writing Goals with the Eisenhower Decision Matrix

Live to Write - Write to Live

How’re you doing with those writing goals?

It’s almost the end of January. Can you believe it? The first thirty days of 2016 are behind us – whoosh! – just like that. Only 335 days left until we’re perched on the edge of yet another New Year. I’d hate for you to be standing there on December 31st – with your party hat and your champagne – lamenting all the writing you didn’t do.  (I’ve been there and done that more times than I care to admit. Makes for a less-than-sparkly New Year’s Eve.)

Regrets are not fun. Regrets are vicious little demons that gnaw on your heart late at night when you’re all alone with your thoughts. They delight in the excruciating replay of all the moments when you coulda-shoulda-woulda, but didn’t. A poignant video produced by Strayer University brings this point home with an interactive art piece that  invited…

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Pigeons in History and Fiction


I wrote about a future dystopian California in Feeling a Way. Creating future California without technology was a fun history learning endeavor. People, in this future without modern technology, need to accomplish the same things we do in our modern world. They need to produce food. They need clothing and houses. They need to travel and communicate over distances. Finally, they need to have the means to live peacefully together, or defend themselves from violent people. The historical truth is that people in the past did all those things. I researched slide rules, messenger pigeons, donkey transportation, bows, arrows, swords, and atlatls.

One topic I spent many an engrossing hour researching was the racing pigeon. Racing pigeons, homing pigeons, messenger pigeons, or carrier pigeons have been used by humans since early recorded history to deliver messages or light loads over hundreds of miles.

In military science the pigeon was used to send messages up through World War II near the middle of the 20th century. Militaries around the world employed pigeons for communication between units and headquarters before wireless radios became available.

Pigeons have been used up to distances as far as 1000 miles. The United Kingdom military used about 250,000 homing pigeons in WW2. The United States employed thousands of pigeons. UK bombers carried a pigeon in case of being shot down. If a plane was going down the pigeon would be released with the written location in that world before GPS, satellites, and tracking devices. One limitation is that the homing pigeon is a one way communication device. They return to home base. So to go both ways requires two separate pigeons.

I first became interested in racing pigeons when my spouse’s mother complained about her brother making her record the times for his pigeon racing, when they were young. He would leave her with a stopwatch and pencil at home, waiting by the cages. He would drive hundreds of miles away, and release the birds. She would have to stay there watching, and record when each bird arrived. She complained to me, years later. Those birds flew about 60 miles per hour, so a hundred mile flight would take less than two hours.

It has been a fascinating journey to learn so much about the racing pigeon and their importance in history. William and his group carry a basket with messenger pigeons to communicate with library headquarters.  Feeling a Way:



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Review of Taming Shadows

Dawnrigger Publishing

Taming Shadows (Revelations #1)Taming Shadows by Fiona Skye
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars.

Paranormal fantasy is the breakfast cereal of my reading menu: a default choice, a guaranteed, all-nutrients-included basic entertainment value. It feeds the hungry imagination even when there’s nothing outstanding to make it memorable.

This book is a nice, full bowl of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs. That is praise. I love CFSBs. I ate up Taming Shadows in an evening (what, don’t you eat cereal for dessert? I do.) Then I went right to Amazon for Silver Shackles that night, and gobbled it down the next day. I even rummaged around the bottom of the box, so to speak, wishing there was more.

Any paranormal that makes me sit up and say, “Oo!” is a pleasant surprise. Taming Shadows satisfied my appetite for story without leaving a stereotype aftertaste, and I especially liked the well-rounded characters and world-building that hinted at…

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Interview with Cynthia Morgan


Today’s interview is with Cynthia A. Morgan, author of Dark Fey. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself.

Morgan Cynthia AuthorMy name is Cynthia A Morgan, but I go by Morgan.  Or ~Morgan~ if I’m feeling very Madonna-esque.   Why you might ask? Well, the short version is that I am Welsh and Proud of it.  The Long(er) version is that my Welsh father was named Morgan O Morgan VIIII and I am also very Proud of that.  Naming the first born son Morgan O Morgan is a family tradition that dates back (in my family) to the 1500’s, but unfortunately my father had no sons to carry on the tradition; however, to honour him and the family, I use the name Morgan.  It is my goal to eventually legally change my name to Morgan CA Morgan. 

What a wonderful family story! At what point did you know you wanted to be…

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Author Interview – Carol Van Natta

My Reader's Journey


Carol Van Natta is an independent author of science fiction romance, including Overload Flux, Minder Rising, and Zero Flux, the first in a new series, and Hooray for Holopticon, a retro science fiction comedy. Overload Flux won a 2015 SFR Galaxy Award.  She shares her Fort Collins, Colorado, home with a sometime mad scientist and various cats. Any violations of the laws of physics in her books are the fault of the cats, not the mad scientist.

How would you describe your series in one sentence?

In my science fiction romance Central Galactic Concordance series, peace has reined for 200 years, but an all-powerful government agency, above-the-law corporations, and evolutionary change are about to bring about the old curse, “May you live in interesting times.” Come along for the ride!

What inspired you to write your story/characters/theme?

A Big Damn Story Arc took over my brain one summer and wouldn’t let me go. The resident Mad Scientist, my significant other, was…

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Back up Back up Back up Back up

Live to Write - Write to Live

Have you ever heard that you should back up your data? It’s an important philosophy to embrace, and with today’s technology there isn’t any reason to ignore it.

A couple of years ago I got an external hard drive and backed some folders and files up; nothing regular or on a particular schedule, but I backed things up every now and then.

Last January I started backing some things up ‘to the ozone’ (the cloud) to give me a piece of mind in case something bad actually happened to my computer *and* the external drive.

I thought of it as business insurance  that would allow me to re-create what I needed, if I ever needed to.

You know where this story is going, right?

My computer was having issues most of last year – freezing up at random times and not letting me do anything except a cold reboot (shutting it down…

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Three paradoxes of writing life

Nail Your Novel

MC Escher Paradox of being a writerYesterday I spoke at the New Generation Publishing selfpub summit, and the discussions threw up some interesting paradoxes that writers encounter.

1 We must produce, but never rush.
Unless we’re writing only for the satisfaction of filling a document, we need an output mentality. We set schedules, aim to present work to critiquers, editors and readers, build a rack of titles for more market share and £££. But we must also learn our natural pace to give a book the proper time.

Last week Maya Goode took my post about the slow-burn writer and added some thoughts of her own, resolving to be swift with her blogging output, and leisurely about her fiction. (To an extent, this post will include a hopscotch through my archives. If you’ve recently arrived on this blog and these ideas strike a chord, these links are a junction box for further exploring.)

Certainly, some books…

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Review of A Dragon Problem by Rick Rossing

Dawnrigger Publishing

A Dragon Problem: The Dragons of Phelios, Book IA Dragon Problem: The Dragons of Phelios, Book I by Rick Rossing

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a fun book, and reading it whiled away a pleasant afternoon. I recommend it to people who love a good portal fantasy the way I do, and I’m following on Amazon so I can grab the next in the series as soon as it comes out.

The author has a clean, straightforward storytelling style, and the first-person point-of-view in this book brings out the best in it. The setting is a basic fantasy world (magic, dragons, semi-feudal societies warring over territory and power) Nothing notably twisty or shockingly original, but all perfectly enjoyable. The story is YA-friendly with a romantic pairing that never goes behind closed doors.

I would put 3.25 stars if Goodreads would allow fractions.

You may well ask, why the compliments but not more stars? Because I…

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Ten Things David Bowie Taught Us About Creating Art

Live to Write - Write to Live

One of the last photos taken of David Bowie One of the last photos taken of David Bowie

On Monday morning the news of David Bowie’s death took us by surprise. Two days after his 69th birthday and the triumphant release of his latest, and last, album – Blackstar – the man who inspired a generation to new heights of curiosity, creativity, and self-expression was gone.

Though I loved all of Bowie’s music, including all the classic songs that were released before I was quite old enough to appreciate them, the first Bowie record I owned (and played to death) was Tonight. I think I may still have a battered cassette copy of that album somewhere. Two years later, in 1986, I – like millions of other teenage girls – fell in love with Bowie as the evil but oh-so-alluring Jareth the Goblin King in Jim Henson’s movie, Labyrinth.

I have spent more time than I’d like…

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