Sunday, 28 January 2018

A booty of music to celebrate

What do you do when you have met all your targets for one day? I mean after three hours of painting, writing enough words to exceed my daily target four times, and then also managing to make my watch ping that I have achieved my exercise target for the day.
My word count target for the year

Now the exercise target is a tricky one on the best of days, that is I why I now have a personal trainer to put me through my paces. However, that only happens tomorrow. Today, however, I made it by accident, shall we say?
I was on my way to take a shower when one of my all-time favourite songs started playing. So I do what anyone does when that happens...I shake my booty in time to the song!
So I shook my booty all the way to the shower with my Bluetooth speaker in one hand and my mobile phone in the other. Shake-shake.
In the shower, another song came on, and boy now I had to move and shower at the same time. And trust me, the shower cubicle is not the size where you can change your mind easily. So here I was, shaking my booty, while trying to wash it, and at the same time trying to prevent my hair from getting wet.
Good thing I was not wearing my glasses, because I do not think even I wanted to see that!
The question remains what now? There are still two hours before bedtime. What is a girl to do with all that time?
With a thunderstorm and wonderful rain singing the background chorus to my evening, there is but one thing left to do: read.
So here is to my week ahead. And here is to your week ahead. May it be blessed with success and plenty of coffee and books.

Until next time!


Monday, 15 January 2018

Cover Reveal: WAITING FOR ADRIAN by Linzé Brandon

cover graphic, Waiting for Adrian, author Linzé BrandonLife was perfect for young  Erin Ville.
Her days were busy with normal teenager things, while her nights were filled with the romantic dreams of a young woman in love.
Until those dreams became so much more than the wishes of her heart.

Who was she really?
Where did Adrian fit into all of this?

Premonitions of war.
Prophecies of the future.
In the middle of it all a young woman too fragile to save the Nations of Peace, and yet they didn't stand a chance of survival without her.

Would Adrian be the man she needed, or was she destined to wait for him forever?

Waiting for Adrian is now available to order on Smashwords.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

StoryCubes Short Story Writing Competition 2018


The Competition

1. Write a short story using the nine story cubes in the graphic (see HOW TO ENTER below).
2. The cubes must be used in the way they are laid out, ie. the opening 3 must be in the opening scene of the story, the middle 3 in the middle, and the last 3 in the ending of the story. The order of the use of the three cubes in every part of the story, is left up to the author.
3. Each story must have a single author.
4. No changes are allowed to stories already submitted.
5. By entering this monthly competition you declare that the stories you submit are your own work, and that you have not committed plagiarism in any form. If any story is found to be the work of another author, copied from any source on the internet, or other published work, the entrant will be banned from any future entries and any work already published will be removed with a public announcement to that effect.
6. By entering this competition you grant permission that your story may be published on Butterfly on a Broomstick and promoted on social media
7. The entry fee is not refundable, so make sure you submit your story on time.
8. South Africa is located in the GMT+2 time zone. Late submissions due to miscalculations on the time zone, will not be accepted as an excuse.
9. Three winners will be picked every month and their stories will be promoted on my blog, Butterfly on a Broomstick. Promotions will take the form of shares on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Twitter.
10. Linzé Brandon is the administrator/judge of this competition, and will not take part as an author.
11. Judges for the month are not allowed to enter, but are welcome to do so for other months.
12. The judges' decision is final.
13. The submissions remain the intellectual property of each author.
14. The top three authors (with the most votes) at the end of the year will be awarded Amazon gift cards to the value of - $25, $15 and $8. In case of a tie, the prizes will be combined and divided equally.
15. The cubes will send out the 1st of the following months: February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November.

The stories will be judged based on the following criteria:

1. Word count, excluding the title, must not exceed 750 words.
2. All nine (9) of the Storycubes must feature in the story.
3. All family friendly genres are welcome - that means no explicit sex, no violence, and no offensive language.
4. Stories that thrill the judges or make them laugh, cry, horrified or touched by your characters are what we are looking for.
5. The story is the most important, but take the time to edit your story before submission. Where stories are tied for a winning place, the better edited story will be chosen.
6. The top three authors for each month will be contacted by email.

How to enter?

1. Subscribe to my blog to get the nine Storycubes sent to your inbox, every month. No spam, I promise.
2. Submit your story in the BODY of an email message. Emails with attachments will be automatically disqualified.
3. Put the title of your story in the SUBJECT line of the email as follows: STORYCUBES {The Month you are taking part} - The Title of Your Story. The email addresses for submission and payment will be sent with the cubes every month.
4. Stories received after the deadline are not eligible. Since the cubes are different for every month, late stories will not be carried over to the next month.
5. Deadline for each story will be in your inbox.
6. Entry fee: $2. The Paypal reference number must accompany the entry to be valid.

How to get to the top spot?

1. Promote your story to all your friends on the internet.
2. Ask them to vote for your story.
3. Take part in the next month's competition.

NOTE: The details of this post will be relocated to a TAB on my blog, so you don't have to search for the rules next time.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Guest post and a new release from Charles Yallowitz

cover page graphic, Warlord of the Forgotten Age, Charles E Yallowitz
Thank you to Linzé Brandon for hosting me on her blog to help promote Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age. This is the final book of my fantasy adventure series, which has spanned 15 volumes. After working on it for so long, I’ve found that one of my favorite parts of writing is to create and evolve characters. My heroes drove the story, traveled to reveal the world, and took whatever I threw at them without voicing too many complaints.
Many people have told me that they think it’s easier to evolve a character in a long series because you have time. I’ve learned that it’s not as easy as it looks and there are plenty of pitfalls when it comes to development. The biggest challenge is making sure the characters don’t go stale and fall into a rut. While there should be a core that remains stable, you need to be on the lookout for a plateau. Once you hit that, the hero has to either retire, find a bigger mountain, or get knocked back down. How do the three options work:
  1. Retire means they’re out and whatever was connected to them has to either be closed or handed off to someone else. I’m not a big fan of this unless it was planned because you have to depend on the audience accepting it. Characters develop fans who may not keep reading if their favorite is gone.
  2. Find a bigger mountain means developing news skills and traits on top of what they already had. Fresh subplots and a twist in the main plot can help here. Yet, you have a risk here as well. The character may become so powerful that people no longer believe there’s a possibility of them failing.
  3. Knocked back down is my favorite because it feels the most realistic. We all have our highs and lows in life, but a hero would be more susceptible. Their adventures leave them more exposed to loss and pain. If they’re kicked from the plateau then they have to get back there while battling the sense that they made a mistake. This can only be done so many times though, but it works out well for a long series because it requires time.
While not as major, I also learned that later outlines might not survive a character’s real personality. Many chapters were changed because a plan didn’t account for how I would write the character. I’ve come to depend a lot on my heroes, villains, and supporting cast when it comes to forming subplots and direct events more than my outlines. Those are guidelines for the characters to either agree to or toss in the garbage.
Again, thank you to Linze Brandon for letting me be a guest. Hope everyone who checks out Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age enjoys the adventure.

Author Bio & Social Media
Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world.

After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere.
He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.
All cover art done by JASON PEDERSEN

Note from Linzé: You're welcome, Charles and wishing you all the best with the new release. 💜

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Book Review: BLOOD AND MAGIC by Ilana Waters

An ancient, ruthless vampire. A gutsy witch hippie. Both walk into a bar.
And all hell breaks loose.

From USA Today bestselling author Ilana Waters:

Bloodseeker Titus isn’t looking for trouble—just a quick meal. But when his path crosses the witch Abigail’s, that plan gets shot to Hades.
Abigail is a member of the Paranormal Investigation Agency (PIA), a secret organization that can spell death to supernaturals. Titus vows to stay as far away from her as possible. But when Abigail suspects a high-ranking PIA member of a monstrous plot, she vows to investigate. For that, she needs Titus’s special skills.
Against his will, Titus is swept into a world of exploding gas mains, lethal bird-shifters, and sadistic vampire minions. The only way out? Uncover the PIA’s murderous secret. Which means going up against the powerful figure at the center of it all. The only problem is, that person will stop at nothing to get what they want.
Even if it means destroying every supernatural in their path.

Buy the book @ Amazon

I volunteered to review this book as part of a blog tour.
This story moves very fast from the beginning, and it requires a focused mind to keep up. I liked that. Even when the pace slows down, and it didn't happen often, there was a lot of things going on or information to be digested to keep up.
Despite the pace of the story, the plot is not complicated, and the subplots do not overtake nor dominate the main plot line. Given the pace of the main story, the lack of strong subplots was a good thing.
The two main characters' first meeting set off sparks that supported the entire story and their motivations for their actions.
Their interactions sometimes made me laugh, and the author did well to establish the kind of rapport that supported the pace of the story and the high action scenes.
Both Abigail and Titus' characters worked well in the setting and the action scenes. Although both main characters, and several of the other characters, had supernatural abilities, the author didn't use their powers as quick fixes to help get them out of trouble. The scene with the uncontrollable flying metal disc quickly drew the reader into understanding that while magic might be involved in action scenes, it was not going to be an easy answer to every problem the two main characters were going to encounter in the rest of the story.
The underlying tension of romantic interest between the two main characters remained subtle and was not distracting of the main plot, which remains the action, fantasy setting of the book.
Since prequels are invariably written after the first book of a series, the author made sure that were no assumptions needed to be made by the reader based on the progress of books that came before it in real time, and yet after it in the timeline of the story.
Overall a lovely read and the story will fall into the recommended category for readers of both witch and vampire genres. Readers who don't like romance will also enjoy this book.

My rating 

Sunday, 7 January 2018

It is a new year, isn't it?

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2018!

Don't we all want to start a new year with hope and positivity? Unfortunately, mine did not. I went back to work on 2 January to the news that two of my colleagues had died. The first was a young woman (I do not know the circumstances) and the second was a man was murdered in a home invasion. While this is shocking and sad, it is not that unusual in this country.
While it makes me angry, I am not going to dwell on the incompetencies of our justice system or the corruption of the government. You only have to read the news to see that for yourself.
My editing badge ❤️
I would rather find something more positive and happy to write about today.
I managed to achieve several of my goals for 2017. I wrote 275 000 words, managed to complete 20 art projects and read 58 books. I did a few drawing courses and one or two to help me grow to become a better me.
Of course, the disappointments were there too. I deliberately avoid the word 'failures' because I have learnt a few things as a result, and that is always a good thing.
To list them: I did not publish the five books I had on my list. Three of them were professionally edited, so they were finished. The novel I wanted to publish last year, is still being proofread before I press that publish key on my keyboard. The other two are short stories. One is still in need of a cover (I cannot make up my mind) and the second short story is part of a trilogy. I have put it on ice until the third story is ready for publication. At least the cover of the trilogy is ready.
Lessons learnt include make more time to edit to ensure that deadlines are met. I do not like editing, so this is something I have to work at this year.
My second disappointment? While I managed to lose some weight, I did not achieve my target. Moreover, with no one to blame except myself, this will be one goal that I am taking very seriously this year too.

My goals for this year

It took me a few hours of soul searching to determine if I am ready to set new goals for 2018, or if I am going to make a list the same as in 2017.
My badge for achieving my word
count target 💙
In the end it will be a combination of both. I did some of that soul-searching at work last week and forgot to email my thoughts home. I will put my 2018 list up next week.
As part of my writing goals for this year, I enrolled in a short story challenge. After the closing date of the month, I will post my story here for you to read. I have no control over the prompts, but if you have a moment, I would appreciate a comment or two.

More exciting news!

I love StoryCubes so that I will be rolling out a writing competition from the 1st of February. The details will be made available later in the week. If you are interested in taking part, please subscribe to my newsletter. All the details for the entries every month will be emailed. No spam, I promise.
That is it for this week.
See you soon!

The CreativeLife in review - planning, time management, and the creative life

  Hey there, creative friend! It's been a week or more since my last post but mostly because I have been taking time to do other things....