Laura Howard: March 2011


Blogging From A-Z Challenge

Have you signed up for the Blogging From A-Z Challenge yet? If not... Get to it!
Started last year on Arlee Bird's blog Tossing it Out, this challenge is back and better than ever! This challenge is for bloggers to blog 26 days (A-Z) in April and the posts are in, you guessed it, A-Z order! Here are he deets, so hurry and sign up, we'll have Fun!!

             The premise of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge is to post something on your blog every day in April except for Sundays.  In doing this you will have 26 blog posts--one for each letter of the alphabet.   Each day you will theme your post according to a letter of the alphabet.

            Last year was nearly overwhelming for me to administrate the ongoing challenge by myself.  There is no way I can expand this Challenge to 300 or more participants and expect to do it alone.  That is why I've joined up with three of the most successful bloggers and blog event organizers that I know. 
            Just in case you don't know these great bloggers and writers, let me introduce them to you:

Star blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh, author of the popular science fiction novel CassaStar.  We met in last year's A to Z and he'll swear by the Challenge.  He's already organized events such as the Movie Dirty Dozen, The Top Ten TV Shows Blogfest, and the current Top Ten Music Countdown-- each one of these an unqualified success.    Alex is determined to see A to Z go to 500 participants and with him on board I think we can do it. 

Power-blogger  Jen Daiker from Unedited  jumped right into blogging last April by joining up in the A to Z Challenge.   In her short span of blogging she has amazingly passed the 1000 follower mark--I still am flabbergasted by that feat.  Blog events she has hosted or co-hosted are the Guess That Character Fest, The Great Blogging Experiment (with Alex Cavanaugh and Elana Johnson), and The Be Jolly By Golly Blogfest.   If only all 1059 of her followers blogged from A to Z with us!

Talli Roland from her self-named blog and the author of The Hating Game , her recent novel which is still doing hot business.  When Talli did her Web Splash to coincide with the release of The Hating Game, there were hundreds of fans who helped kick off the campaign with their own blogs.   She'll be in charge of our international affairs since she currently lives in London, England.   And Jen is already building her army of followers while Alex is taking control of CassaStar and the universe--it's a busy crew here.

           And if you're a regular reader of my blog then you probably know something about me, Arlee Bird--there's plenty written about me in my blog pages.    I encourage you to click on the above links to three blogs and give your greeting and, if not one already, become a follower of each of their blogs!


Writing Magic

Today I'm in a blog hop at Tessas Blurb called The Nature of Magic. We're sharing our magic with the world, and checking out what others think of magic and giving them some comment love

Fantasy books, whether they be urban fantasy, science fiction or paranormal, involve different types of magic. It's always fun to learn how magic plays a part in different worlds, and it's usually vastly different from one story to the next. In many of the urban fantasy series I've read, magic is an energy source that offers the wielder a sort of give-and-take... using the magic has many advantages, but you must pay the price for it. I've seen insanity play a big part... ie if you use magic, the trade-off is to lose a little of your sanity with each spell. I've also seen magic described in one of my favorite fantasy series as a sort of layer around the atmosphere that you can gather to yourself and use at will.

In the manuscript I'm working on, which is an adult fantasy, magic is based in the mind or in the blood. I wanted to have a unique format because I feel like my story has a lot of unique characteristics and wanted it to stand out when it is published. Now, I have certainly heard of blood magic being done before- and I have no doubt mind magic exists in books. However, I have not read anything with it, so I'm hoping mine will be a unique twist... :)  Until I'm done writing the ms, I won't be reading either of these in hopes of avoiding any confusion.

OK, so on to the fun stuff. How MY magic works ;)

The supernatural or fantastical beings in my story have several abilities. As with humans, they all have some abilities that are stronger than others. Some are able to see the future, by focusing on threads of time they see in their mind's eye. Others have strong coercive talents. They are able to control those with weaker minds then theirs. This skill also allows them to change the way other's perceive them, which they refer to as "cloaking" themselves or some objects. My favorite talent is the ability to communicate mind to mind, as either mind-reading or mind-speaking. Imagine how handy that would be IRL!! It would be so easy to have an adult conversation with my husband if I could just talk straight into his mind... The last talent they possess is telekinesis, they are able to use their minds to move things without physically touching them. Another super-handy ability. I sometimes feel like I have this ability since I had kids... it's so nice to be able to say "Honey, would you mind running upstairs to get the baby wipes?" Haha, sometimes it works better than others.

In my world, blood magic is forbidden. It's considered "Old Magic" because it is no longer allowed. This type of magic is obtained by using the blood of another living creature to strengthen the mind magic the wielder already possesses. When my creatures use blood from humans it allows them to walk in this realm, which normally makes them sick and weak. There are definite disadvantages to blood magic, though. It corrupts their minds, like poison. But, like a drug addiction, it becomes increasingly difficult to stop.

I'm excited to check out everyone else's magic stories on this blog hop. If you're not in the hop, you should check it out here!


Computer Virus

My PC has been bitten by some kind of Google redirect virus!! Ever heard of it? First, every time I used Google (my best friend) I'd get redirected to some lame site I had no interest in, and had assuredly malignant content. Now, all Google products- including this blog and my ability to sign in to comment on other blogs, are completely defunct!! How mad am I??? Just a little... Grr


Why people?? Why do you do this to me??

So blogging from my iPod is not a huge deal... But I don't love typing on this little bugger!
So, until I can fix my issues, please bear with me!!!


Follow Friday Bloghop

Book Blogger Hop

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!  This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read! 

This week's question comes from Somer who blogs at A Bird's Eye Review (her blog design is ADORABLE - check it out!):

 "Do you read only one book at a time, or do you have several going at once?"

Answer: I will only read one book at a time. The only time I break this rule is when I'm reading a book to my kids. I find it confusing to keep up with two stories at once, and not at all fun. But, I know alot of people enjoy reading a multitude of books at once- it just doesn't work for me.

Anyone have a different opinion?


Flog your Blog

This is your opportunity to FLOG YOUR BLOG! I thought it would be nice if my followers had a chance to show off what their own blog was about and gain some new followers through my blog here.

When you make a comment, don’t just put in your link, tell us a little bit about your blog. Do you write mostly book reviews? Talk about writing angst? Discuss current events? What’s your own writing genre? Are your published? This will help people decide if they want to follow you.

To be completely clear, this is not a contest, you won’t win anything by making a comment, but I am hoping that you will gain some new followers (me too) by participating in the FLOG YOUR BLOG throw down. The only rules are-

1. You must be following this blog to make a comment and . . .
2. You must do this on your blog too in order to give your followers a chance to gain new people.

My hope is that more people will not only get active here by commenting and participating but that my followers will get the same thing on their blogs. I think this sounds like a good idea, let’s see how it works.


Congratulations Carolina!!

I'm new to this amazing blogosphere of writers and readers, but am just so in love with all the sweet people paying it forward to one another! Over the last few weeks I watched the amazing Talli Roland and her tremendous following bring it home on her release day for her new (new in paperback anyway) book The Hating Game. Prizes were given and the happiness was literally contagious!

Today, another bloggie fiend, Carolina Valdez- Miller, announced her signing with the wonderful agent Vickie Motter! So many things going on in the writing life, I just wish I had found all these super folks sooner.

If you want to join in the infectious wave of paying it forward, I highly recommend signing up for the A-Z challenge in April so that you can see first hand all the ways these writers and readers are supporting each other!

For now go to Carols blog and congratulate her, she's making it well worth the trip with so many rad giveaways your head will SPIN!

Carolina Valdez Miller: So, I Have Some News (and a Mega Giveaway of a Kindle and More)


Weekend Creation

To spark my week's creativity, I joined this group hop! The key is to link with other creative blogs and get inspired/ inspire others. I love that!

I have a hard time talking about my writing with the people in my life; it feels like I'm a big pretender, or a wannabe.

But, the truth is that I love to write. So, here I am admitting it.

Hi. My name is Laura, and I am a writer.

I just recently told my family about my current WIP. It felt so odd sharing something that for me is so intimate. It was like I was stripping myself for them to see.

I guess I expected to be laughed at, because it is such a pipe dream to want to be a writer.

Nobody laughed at me. At least not out loud.

It really feels good to put it out there, and to be able to talk about it when things are going well. It's still really hard, but I'm working on it.

So... my contribution to the weekend creation is my story of admitting that I like to create. I have had occasions where people have looked at me like I was joking when I said I like to write, but it's not been everyone. And I have my family's support, which is all that really matters.


Crazy for Books!

Book Blogger Hop

I found this cool weekend bloghop and decided it would be lots of fun to play along.
The question is:
If someone gave you $80 and sent you into a bookstore, what would be in your basket?

First I'd like to say that would be Awesome!!!

Here we go!

Rivermarked by Patricia Briggs

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

The Hating Game by Talli Roland

Possession by Elana Johnson

So that's my list even if some aren't out in print yet! How about you? What's up next on your TBR list?


Being a Daughter

We all wear different "hats", sometimes a handful, on any given day. Sometimes I feel like I am so many different things at once, it's hard to categorize myself. Mother, daughter, sister, wife...

Today, I'm a daughter. My dad is buying a new house in an adult (55+) community. My mom passed away in November and it's time to down-size, start looking forward. They'd been married for 38 years, and I'm amazed and inspired by my father's strength. Some days I want to curl up into a ball and cry for my mom, and I think my dad maybe has those days too. But, he has told me many times that he's not ready to give up on this life. Getting through the loss of my mother would have been impossible if it weren't for his show of strength.

I'm so lucky to have this man for a father, just as I was so lucky to have my mom. They both inspire me, and I'm proud today that I'm their daughter... it's a hat I love to wear.

So, what hat are you wearing today? And, more importantly- who inspires you?


Check out this Contest at DNA Writers!

There is a contest of EPIC proportions going on at this site I just discovered, DNA writers, which stands for Dumbledore's NaNo Army. Here are the deets:
* Free $25 Amazon gift card.
* Free book from the Book Depository under $15.
* Free book from the Book Depository under $15.
* Free 10 pg MS critique or 4 pg synopsis critique ($35 value).
*Free $15 Starbucks e-gift card.
*SIGNED paperback of Lisa McMann's WAKE.
GRAND PRIZE: Full substantial edit of 80k or less (MG or YA only) from Kari!
Must be a follower of this blog.
Fill out the form below.
Contest ends at midnight EST March 6th


We Have a Winner!

This morning I tallied up my comments and followers and chose a winner for the $15 Barnes & Noble giftcard from my List & Giveaway!

And the winner is...Carolina Valdez Miller!!!!

Congrats Carolina!

Today is an exciting day for me, because I'm going to my first ever book signing right here in Massachusetts. The lovely Kim Harrington will be signing copies of her new release Clarity, and I'm so thrilled to get my own signed copy.


Gone But Not Forgotten

Today's blogfest is about TV shows that are not on the air anymore, but will forever be remembered ...

#1 My So-Called Life Ah... memories of waiting each week to get a glimpse of Jared Leto. Angela was the snarky woe is me heroine who landed the hottest guy EVER! Why did it only last for one season,this was gold to my teenage self!

#2 Friends This one is like a no-brainer. Even my husband watched this show with me back before we were married. Who didn't watch Friends???

#3 Beverly Hills 90210 The Original. The drama, the intrigue. Somehow my entire family would clear the living room while I delighted in my weekly 90210, blessed alone time for me.

#4 Party of Five Sweet biscuits, I had such a crush on Bailey... and then on Griffin. I even tolerated Claudia's annoying nasal voice week after week. I don't think I missed a single episode!

#5 Will & Grace Some of my best material is from W&G, I swear it. Sometimes I think it should have been Jack & Karen... Every word that came out Jack's mouth is GOLD baby. And, Karen ain't too shabby neithah!


Read Across America Day

Today is the 14th annual Read Across America Day honoring the amazing Dr Seuss' birthday. The idea behind this fun celebration is to actively get a child in your life to pick up a book to read. It doesn't matter if that child is 2 months or 16 years old, either. Reading to your baby or talking to your teenager about a favorite book is a perfect way to inspire reading habits that will last.

Sponsored by the National Education Association, this program provides parents, caregivers, and children the resources and activities they need to keep reading on the calendar 365 days a year.
In May 1997, a small reading task force at NEA came up with a big idea. "Let's create a day to celebrate reading," the group decided. "We hold pep rallies to get kids excited about football. We assemble to remember that Character Counts. Why don't we do something to get kids excited about reading? We'll call it 'NEA's Read Across America' and we'll celebrate it on Dr. Seuss's birthday." And so was born on March 2, 1998, the largest celebration of reading this country has ever seen.

Need some ideas for fun activities to make reading an extra special part of your day today?

Check out these links:

Dr. Seuss Activities for Kids of All Ages

NEA's Read Across America