Thursday, January 31, 2013

Interview at A Date With a Book

Dalene over at A Date With a Book interviewed me. 
Check out the post and sign up for the giveaway to celebrate my birthday.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday W(ork) I(n) P(rogress) Zombie #4

Here's another excerpt from Chapter 1.

“Zombies aren’t like dogs. They can’t be trained.”

“Who says?” asked Max.

“The experts. Didn’t you listen to anything Mr. Carter said in science? Zombies may be slow moving creatures and they may look like your friends and family but they are not to be thought of as friends and loved ones. They are highly infectious and dangerous creatures. Only trained experts should handle them. Trained experts—zombie exterminators like Eddy’s dad.”

“What did you do? Memorize the pamphlet they gave us?” asked Max.

Chad’s cheeks turned bright red.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Weekly Recap/Preview #2

The best laid plans...well, you know how that goes! It's been a busy week, and a bit of a stressful week. I didn't get everything done on the blog that I had planned. We changed Internet providers this week and it probably went smoother than I remember it. But that's because I was panicking. I had an guest post packet  and interview questions to get out. And there i was, sitting with no Internet. Not funny! Yeah I see you in the back laughing. HA! HA! HA!

Obviously it's back on. YEAH!!!

Sales are going good. But here comes the begging! Please help me out!!! If you've bought a copy of any of my books, first, THANK YOU!!! Now, if you like the book, please let other people know. Post it on your social networks. Help me get the word out. Post reviews at the sites you bought the book. Increasing book sales would be a really cool birthday present next week!!

Next week I have a guest post and an interview coming up. I will post links. So stop buy click the link and go take a look.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My 10 Favorite Movies

Here are my 10 favorite movies, in no particular order:
  1. You've Got Mail  I just love Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. The big, bad Fox Bookstore is out to shut down the small indie store, who puts up a battle to stay open.
  2. While You Were Sleeping My favorite Sandra Bullock movie. How can you not love it? She saves a guy from getting killed and suddenly finds herself with a new family who thinks she's the fiance.
  3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding A Greek girl falls in love with a non-Greek boy, and of course, chaos rules.
  4. Star Trek: Wrath of Khan  Ricardo Montalban reprises his Khan character from the tv episode "Space Seed" and is out for revenge against Kirk. Of the original Star Trek movies, I think this is the best one.
  5. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone We get to watch Harry as he discovers who he really is and plunges into the world of magic.
  6. Star Trek: First Contact The best of the Next Generation movies. Who doesn't love a battle with the Borg queen?
  7. The Nightmare Before Christmas  Watching Jack discover Christmas is so cool!
  8. A Christmas Carol (version starring Patrick Stewart) This is just one of absolute favorite Christmas stories, and I just love the version with Patrick Stewart.
  9. The Princess Diaries A cute movie about a girl who finds out she's really a princess.
  10. The Postman  It's a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie about a drifter who finds the skeletal remains of a postman and puts on the uniform to keep warm, but ends up bringing hope to the survivors. I love the scene with Tom Petty at Bridge City.
What are your favorite movies?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday W(ork) I(n) P(rogress) Zombie #3

From Chapter 1

“But if we train a zombie, we’ll not only win the science fair, we’ll be doing the town a huge favor.”

“How? By getting ourselves put in jail or worse like—you know—infected? No! Thank! You! There are rules about zombies for a reason. They are extremely infectious. You should have read the pamphlet they gave us in science about zombies,” Chad reminded Max. “If you had, you’d know that.”

“We won’t get infected. It’s gotta bite you in order to do that and we won’t get anywhere near the teeth,” Max paused. “We’ll keep the zombie in a cage in either the backyard or the basement. And as long as we stay outside the cage, we won’t get infected. Then once we’ve got it trained, we won’t have to worry about it biting us.”

Friday, January 18, 2013

Weekly Recap/Preview #1

Sorry guys, but I'm running a bit late today.

The first semester of school ended yesterday. I left with all my grades turned in and everything ready for the new semester and the new group of kids. It's nice to have everything ready to go before you leave work. So how does that play into me being late with today's post?  Today is a school holiday, as is Monday. So what did I do this morning? I slept in. It was nice. I've been averaging four hours of sleep the past couple of weeks and I was starting to burn out. For the last few days, I've sat staring at the computer screen. I knew what I was supposed to write about, but I couldn't translate the scenes into words and make them flow through my fingers into the laptop.

Very frustrating!!!

I knew I needed a break. I picked up my Kindle and read for a bit, slept in today, and guess what? This afternoon, I finished the chapter I was staring at all week and actually wrote a little over 1200 words. YEAH!!!

I also worked on organizing myself. It's still an ongoing process but I'm pleased with what I've done so far. I found a blog planning form that I like over at by Beckie at Infarrantly Creative.  I didn't print the blank calendar form, but instead used Publisher to print a calendar. Because I'm making more than just a blogging planner, I printed another calendar to track my writing and the deadlines involved with it. I also created a form to help me track the people I contact help promote my book. Right now, everything is in one binder with dividers (that way I can easily add stuff as needed), but I'm thinking of dividing the months into three binders--four months to a binder. I want to use the binder to keep up with receipts and such stuff each month. It is definitely a work in progress, but I like it so far, and it's eliminating the numerous notepads and spirals laying around.

I also discovered Pinterest. It's so cool!  I'm at so check my boards out. Okay, here's the blatant pitch. Like and/or repin my books. Help me out. I need to get the word out to EVERYONE about my books. If the link above doesn't work, there's one on the right side bar.

I've changed the name of my Friday post from Friday Ramblings to Weekly Recap/Preview. It just sounded like a better title than Ramblings.

Twice a month I'll be blogging at Downtown YA, so you  need to stop by and check it out.

So, what's going on next week?
Saturday is Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, so I'll have something up about that. Sunday, I'll have another teaser from my zombie book. Later in the week I'll have up some pictures of the places that inspired some of my ghost stories in No Rest for the Spirit and Other Ghostly Tales.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Summerset Abbey by T.J. Brown

Today, Summerset Abbey by T.J. Brown was released.
I had the opportunity to ask Ms. Brown a few questions.

Me: What inspired you to write this story?

Ms. Brown:  I have always loved the Edwardian period, but after Downton Abbey aired, I really wanted to write something in that period. I told my agent, we should pitch an Edwardian and she asked me what I had in mind. 5 weeks later I had a contract for a three book Edwardian series!

When I was a teen I read a book called Amanda Miranda by Richard Peck and it was set in this era. That book first started my love for all things Edwardian.

Me:  Is anything in your story based on real life or is it purely imagination?

Ms. Brown:  Like many historical authors, I tried to bring real life events into the story. The Clever Coterie, for instances, was based on a real life group of young aristocrats who frolicked through the Edwardian period, drinking, dancing and shocking their elders. I think  real life details  lend a book , even a fiction book, authenticity.

Me:  Which character is your favorite and why?

Ms. Brown:   Victoria. In all of my books I have at least one over the top character and in Summerset Abbey, Victoria is the one. She is smart and imaginative and she says almost everything that comes into her mind. I adore her. Wouldn't you love someone who worked literary quotes into everyday conversation? Even though all girls are featured, Bloom in Winter is her book, and I had such an awesome time working on it!

Me:  What was the hardest part about writing this story? 
Ms. Brown:  I wrote this story while undergoing treatment for throat cancer, so the most challenging part of writing this book, was staying awake for it! I was so fatigued all the time. But usually once I had immersed myself in the story, I was good. It was just forcing myself to the computer chair that was hard! Also, I had very short deadlines for these books, so I had no room to put it off and take a nap!

Book Blurb:

1913: In a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London, three young women seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of society and the distant rumblings of war. . .

Rowena Buxton
Sir Philip Buxton raised three girls into beautiful and capable young women in a bohemian household that defied Edwardian tradition. Eldest sister Rowena was taught to value people, not wealth or status. But everything she believes will be tested when Sir Philip dies, and the girls must live under their uncle’s guardianship at the vast family estate, Summerset Abbey. Standing up for a beloved family member sequestered to the “under class” in this privileged new world, and drawn into the Cunning Coterie, an exclusive social circle of aristocratic “rebels,” Rowena must decide where her true passions—and loyalties—lie.

Victoria Buxton
Frail in body but filled with an audacious spirit, Victoria secretly dreams of attending university to become a botanist like her father. But this most unladylike wish is not her only secret. Now, Victoria has stumbled upon a family scandal that, if revealed, has the potential to change lives forever…

Prudence Tate Prudence was lovingly brought up alongside Victoria and Rowena, and their bond is as strong as blood. But by birth she is a governess’s daughter, and to the lord of Summerset Abbey, that makes her a commoner who must take her true place in society—as ladies maid to her beloved “sisters.” But Pru doesn’t belong in the downstairs world of the household staff any more than she belongs upstairs with the Buxton girls.  And when a young lord catches her eye, she begins to wonder if she’ll ever truly carve out a place for herself at Summerset Abbey…

Publication Date: January 15, 2013

Available at: Amazon , Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, Simon and Schuster, and Indie Bound

Other books in the series:
A BLOOM IN WINTER (Summerset Abbey #2) March 5, 2013
PRING AWAKENING (Summerset Abbey #3) August 6, 2013

The Author: T.J. Brown

TJ Brown is passionate about books, writing, history, dachshunds and mojitos. If she could go back in time, she would have traveled back to England, 1910, Paris, 1927 or Haight-Ashbury, 1967. She resides in the burbs of Portlandia, where she appreciates the weirdness, the microbreweries, hoodies, Voodoo Donuts and the rain.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday W(ork) I(n) P(rogress) Zombie #2

More from Chapter 1

“Quoting your mom is not cool. It just sounds stupid. Grow up! Eighth graders are top dogs. We don’t listen to our parents, we tell them.”

“Yeah right!” Chad glared at Max. “Your idea is stupid, not my mom. Now if you want cool, she’s cool.”

“My idea’s not stupid!”

Chad rolled his eyes. “It’s not only stupid, but you’re gonna break a lot of rules. Suspension doesn’t look good on transcripts.”

“I’m not gonna break any rules.” Max made quotation marks with his fingers when he said rules. “All it’s gonna do is make me—us the most popular guys in the history of this school.”

“This is so ridiculous,” said Chad. “What’s up with your obsession to be popular? Being popular is not everything.”

Max stared at his friend in disbelief. “How can you not want to be popular?”

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Ramblings #1

I don't know about you, but January seems to be flying by. Maybe it just seems that way because I'm so busy. Monday was the first day back at work after having two weeks off for the holidays. So not only am I writing and working on promotion stuff full time, but I'm back at school teaching full time. You've heard the saying, "burning both ends of the candle," haven't you? This week that's been a pretty accurate description. A/C guy has already warned me about the consequences of not getting enough sleep--the inevitable crash, which I've done before. I tend to get so focused on writing at night that I loose track of time and before I know it, it's 1 or 2 in the morning--I have to get up at 5 for work. A/C guy is worried about me crashing, so last night I managed to get to sleep a little earlier.

Progress on the zombie book is going great! A few changes from the outline have happened, but I like them and they add depth to the story. It's definitely MG (middle grade), but I think some of the older audience will like it too. Sunday, I'll have up another teaser from the manuscript. So watch for that.

I don't know about y'all, but here in Texas, we're having up and down weather--typical Texas weather. We had a cold spell, then two really rainy days, now it's sunny and back in the low 70s today, and it's supposed to be that way tomorrow, but on Sunday it's supposed to be cold again. Just checked the forecast--rain on Saturday into Sunday morning. (I like rainy weather.)

I teach at a smaller more rural district. After what happened in Connecticut, the decision was made to hire off-duty police officers to patrol the campuses. Most large districts have officers walking the halls and campuses, so no big deal, right? The media blew it way out of proportion and made no reference to what larger districts have been doing for years. If having an officer on campus helps protect our kids, I'm all for it.

There's a lot of talk about better gun control, but there's little to no talk about the other issues that cause individuals to do these horrific crimes. Programs and medical help are needed for those with mental health issues--and we need to quit treating it like it's a terrible secret to be hidden away until the person does something horrible.We also need better programs and training in place to help both the bullies and the victims in schools. We have to take responsibility for our actions to make this world a better place.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Achieving Goals--The Plan

Successful people don't become successful overnight.

They set goals, then they put into motion plans to achieve the goals. Depending on the goal, the plan may take days, months, even years to achieve, but the one key thing is that successful people keep working toward their goals.

I've always believed in setting goals, and not just at the beginning of the new year, though that's a good time to set your goals for the year. But it's not enough to just set goals. You have to figure out how you're going to achieve them.

A few days ago, I wrote about my goals for the new year. Okay, I set some goals. That's great! But if I don't formulate a plan for each goal and then implement the plan, the goals won't get achieved.

At the end of the year I don't want to look back at my list of goals and say, "Wow! Those were good goals. Too bad they didn't happen."

Goals don't just happen.

You have to make them happen!

My office is not going to miraculously clean and organize itself, though I wish it would. I have to physically go into the room, go through the boxes, throw away the trash, organize what's going to be kept...You get the idea.

I have to have a plan and put that plan into action so that I'll be able to achieve my goal.

So now you have your goals, think about what you have to do to achieve them, and put your plan into motion.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

10 Thing You Don't Know About Me

  1. I have a younger brother and sister.
  2. Both of my parents are dead.
  3. I don't like root beer or licorice.
  4. I became a Trekkie at a very early age.
  5. I can't stand weak coffee or tea.
  6. Next month will be my 25th wedding  anniversary.
  7. Mr. Pibb is my favorite soda, but it's not sold in the area I live in. (I have found one convenience store that carries it in their fountain, but it stays out a lot.)
  8. I don't like jellies or jams, but I loved my mom's homemade fig preserves.
  9. I love cold, rainy days, but hate hot summer days. ( I burn really quick.)
  10. I've read the Harry Potter series multiple times but I haven't read the Twilight series even once, and no, I haven't seen the movies.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sunday W(ork) I(n) P(rogress) Zombie #1

Here's the first teaser from the zombie book I'm working on.

Chapter 1

“That’s not only the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’ll get us in all sorts of trouble.” Chad’s nasally baritone voice blasted its way through the crowded hallway. Only the clanks of locker doors slamming shut were louder, but not by much.

Up and down the hallway, students turned and stared at Chad and Max. Some pointed and laughed, but most just ignored them as if they didn’t exist.

“Sheesh! Can you talk a little louder? I don’t think they heard you in the band hall.” Max’s face turned several shades redder than the lockers lining the wall. This wasn’t exactly the kind of attention he wanted, especially not after yesterday’s Career Fair. How his mom found out about it, was beyond him. He had thrown away the first flyer asking for volunteers to speak to his class about their careers over a month ago, and he made sure to throw away every flyer he had gotten since then.

But she found out.

Friday, January 4, 2013

my playlist for the zombie book

I started writing the zombie book last week, and I can't believe how far I've gotten. Vacation is nice for writing. I don't have to worry about the day job, just get up, make some coffee and start writing. I'm looking forward to the day when writing is my full-time job. (That's a hint to you...wink...wink!)

Today I moved my writing to the dining room table so I could keep and eye on the beans I was cooking, and I just needed a change of scenery. The television was off and I was just staring at the computer screen. It suddenly dawned on me as I shuffled through the music playslists on my phone that I hadn't made a playlist for the zombie book. I was still listening to the playlist for Wrath of Hades.

So I made this playlist and am now listening to as I write:

All Star by Smash Mouth

Bad Romance by Lady Gaga
Beds Are Burning by Midnight Oil
Bitter Sweet Symphony by The Verve
Burnin' for You by Blue Oyster Cult

Dancing with Myself by Billy Idol
Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins
December by Collective Soul

Eyes Without a Face by Billy Idol

Feel Good, Inc. by Gorillaz
The Fame by Lady Gaga

Get the Party Started by Pink
Ghostbusters by Ray Parker

Help! by The Beatles
Hold Me by Fleetwood Mac
Hurt by Johnny Cash

I Love the Nightlife by Alicia Bridges
It's Not My Time by 3 Doors Down

Just Dance by Lady Gaga

Land of Confusion by Genesis
Little Lies by Fleetwood Mac

One Headlight by The Wallflowers

Paralyzer by Finger Eleven
The Politics of Dancing by Re-Flex

September by Earth, Wind, and Fire
So Alive by Love and Rockets

Touch of Gray by The Grateful Dead
Twilight Zone by Golden Earring

Unbelievable by EMF

Walkin' On the Sun by Smash Mouth
We Don't Need Another Hero by Tina Turner

Your Wildest Dreams by Moody Blues