13 January 2009

New Voices deadline extended

Due to technical difficulties, the New Voices Young Writer's contest will be extended to this coming Friday, Jan 16th, 2009!

New Voices is currently in it's 4th year. It's a free writing contest for middle school and high school students, which awards prizes and offers feedback from professional authors, editors, publishers, teachers and librarians.

You can learn more about this contest at the
EPIC site.


EPICon Returns to Las Vegas

It's been eight years since EPICon, the e-publishing industry's yearly convention, hosted by The Electronically Published Internet Connection, has turned its sights on Sin City. It's not the typical "entertainment" industry you'd think of when The Entertainment Capitol of the World comes to mind, but fiction publishing, especially in indie press, is all about a rich reader experience.

EPIC is the epicenter of that world for more than 700 authors and industry professionals, and EPICon has always been open to both members and non-members of this fast-growing, international organization. In its tenth year, EPICon is home to not only the formal business meeting for the group but also class tracks in writing, publishing and promotion, the presentation of the New Voices, EPPIE and ARIANA/QUASAR awards and the gala EPPIE banquet with this year's emcee, long-time stage performer Daniel J. Reitz Sr.

This year's convention will be held at the Monte Lago Village Resort (www.montelagovillage.com) in beautiful and picturesque Henderson, NV, located just 17 miles off the Las Vegas strip. Monte Lago is a Tuscan village setting, complete with cobblestone streets, fountains, shopping and activities for all ages.

The convention keynote this year will be Penny C. Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., a publicist and bestselling author herself. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns around.

In addition to the industry portions of the convention, there is a class track especially for young writers. Since the addition of New Voices--the four-year-old middle and high school writing contest EPIC runs--to the EPICon fold, EPIC President Carol MacLeod and New Voices Chair Debi Sullivan have worked to increase young author participation in the convention itself.

And avid readers in the Las Vegas/Henderson area can look forward to two separate book signings arranged for authors attending the conference. The first will be for sensual and erotic authors only and is tentatively scheduled for the Erotic Heritage Museum on Wednesday, March 4, 2009. The second is a multi-genre signing tentatively scheduled to be held at Cheesecake and Crime on Friday, March 6, 2009. More information will be released on both signings as it becomes available.

Though the economy is troublesome and prices are soaring, EPICon remains one of the best deals in convention travel. Airfare to Las Vegas is notably inexpensive, and the convention itself enjoys some of the best rates you'll find for a multi-day experience. From the $35 day-trip price for the teen writers through the full conference package, which includes six of the seven meals for the more than two days of convention time, that clocks in at $225, you won't find a comparable deal anywhere. There are even ala carte deals that entice the attendee to bring along the family for only $170 per person for the full meal package.

Even staying at Monte Lago is reasonably-priced. EPICon's room deals clock in studio rooms for as little as $139. Two and three-bedroom suites, some with full kitchens, are available in the $249-$449 per night price range.
For more information on attending EPICon, visit the conference site at (www.epic-conference.com). But don't delay too long! Registration for EPICon closes Feb 15th.

05 January 2009

Back to School blues

How was your back to school situation? I know some people were snowed in and didn't end up with kids back to school today. Here's my morning, in a nutshell. And people wonder why I say I need the break of them being gone, after a long vacation? Grinning madly. I DO love my kids.

Our roads are an ice rink situation. We had an ice storm last night. School is in, MA being MA, so I braved my kids to school on ice. But... We'll skip me putting my oldest's hood back on her coat, because she couldn't figure out where the snaps were, hidden beneath a decorative flap...and we'll skip me threatening both girls into blow-drying their hair in ten degree weather...

I was speeding the older two through getting ready, because Monday means chorus practice for the older two...one of four chorus days between three kids that I keep track of. I mentioned THREE TIMES that we were hurrying for chorus.

Tamer, smart enough to realize that the kids were (to pardon the pun, considering the state of the roads) skating on thin ice with me, grabbed the boy and ran him through 'where is practice'... Where is your coat? Where are your gloves? Where is your back pack? Ooops... No back pack. Knowing I'd lose my patience, if he waited to the last minute to start looking, Tamer informed boy that he had 15 minutes to find said pack.

When ten minutes passed without success, I unlocked the vehicles for him to check them...no pack. Tamer and I started scouting the house. No pack. Frustrated, I asked BOY what in the world he did with it. At that point, he postulated that he'd left it at the elementary school, while he was picking up the youngest on the last day before break (a HALF day, due to a blizzard). I told him I'd call the elementary school to see if anyone turned it in, and I loaded the older two in the van, just in time to half-slide them to chorus practice.

Only...huh... The administration was there, but only one student in sight in a 50 or so person chorus? Not right. While I was musing, the boy suggested they'd delayed school. No, not possible. We have an electronic alert system that calls each parent and teacher, in case of delay or cancellation...or early dismissal.

Then the oldest pipes up with: "There is no chorus today."
Mom: "What? Why didn't you mention that?"
Kid: "I...uh... I thought he knew." (passing the buck to the younger sibling...politics in motion)
Mom: "Your brother was sick before school let out. How would he KNOW anything about it?"
Kid: "Well, there won't be chorus, until Mr. T runs auditions again."
Mom: "Again? He's done that."
Kid: "For kids who are new. He doesn't let anyone join mid-season. Once we do the winter concerts, he does auditions for the new kids who want to join for the spring concerts."
Mom: "And how long does this last?" (working on re-writing my daily schedule to accommodate)
Kid: "I don't know. Two or three weeks, maybe."

I looked at the clock and realized the kids were a full half hour early for a regular school day. If I drove them home, we'd end up out of the car for 5 minutes then back in. The heck with that. "Okay. We're going up the hill to look for the back pack. If it's not there, he didn't leave it there...or the teachers saw it and took it in to lost and found. If we don't find it, I'll call later."

Up we went, and sure enough, there was the pack...outside. It had lived through two blizzards and an ice storm. It was completely crusted in ice. But, everything inside seemed to have survived. I dropped them back off at school, with orders to beat the ice off the pack, BEFORE it could melt and wet everything inside... "But don't beat it on the school building." It doesn't hurt to point these things out to kids, you know. "You never told me not to eat the daisies. You never told me not to put my head through the chair legs." Yeah, I know what the movie is all about.

So, I headed home...and came across my oldest's best friend...coatless and gloveless (as usual), picking her way over the ice toward the school. I stopped and offered her a ride. I have permission from her mother to give her rides, because the kid is going to catch pneumonia, otherwise.

All of the sudden, I realized she was not carrying a diorama for English class. The only reason (beside the ice) that I drove the oldest was that she had her diorama and accompanying book report to carry in.

Mom: "Don't you have a diorama?"
Kid: "I haven't started it yet."
Mom: "Isn't it due today?"
Kid: "Yeah. I'll bring it in tomorrow."
Mom: (biting my tongue, because it's not MY kid) "Sure. A lot of kids will probably bring it tomorrow. They always forget when something is due the day after vacation." (but they lose half a score for it...but hey!...I'm giving her benefit of the doubt that she forgot)
Kid: "Yep. A lot of people will forget, so she won't know I didn't do it."

I dropped her off then went home to my least troublesome and youngest child...who was ready early...with everything, up to the school on time...no problems.

01 January 2009

TWO new releases and more news

It's a bright new year, and I'm starting it with not one but TWO new releases from UTM!

First up... THREE WISHES, the second installment in the Urban Grimms.

Meet Ellie D'Arcy, an orphaned college-student, stuck living with her step-mother and step-sister. She's got nowhere else to go, until she inherits her trust fund at age 25, so she has to put up with Tina and Maria's tempers until then. Or does she? Little known to Ellie, she's due another birthright, a magical one. Unfortunately, three fairy godfathers can wreck a lot of havoc on a person's life.

And, a straight-genre horror collection of zombies from myself, Terri Pray and TL Ryder, titled UNDEAD EMBRACE.

Within these pages you won't find a single 'Brains' uttered from undead lips. Crawl into the mind of one zombie and find out what her preferred choice of food truly is. Do you dare to find out just deeply the love of a mother might run? Find out just what happens when the wrong spice is used during the preparation of a Thanksgiving meal. And - just how can Zombies be of use during a long, boring road trip when you have two young children in the car?

As if that's not news enough, I learned I'm a nominee for Love Romance Cafe's Best of 2008. The nomination went to LAST CHANCE FOR LOVE for Best Sci Fi/Fantasy book for 2008.

Upcoming events?

Jan 15th- CATCH ME, IF YOU CAN (Urban Grimms
1) releases in print. EVIL OVERLORDS' UNION 1 releases in print. (Remember that all e-book releases from UTM release in print about three months later! If you want the print books, hang tight; they're coming!) And...I'll be joining the IWOFA authors in the Romance Reviews Today chat room from 9-11 pm.

Jan 31st- RENEGADES RUN (Renegades book 2) will be releasing in e-book from UTM!