A Day Late & a Million $$ Short: Episode 6 #Survivor

Here are this week's ramblings on Survivor: San Juan Del Sur - Blood Versus Water.

It was a valiant effort by Dale with the fake idol. At first I didn't understand why he said the whole thing about giving it to Jon if he was safe after the vote, but now I realize that if he'd simply threatened to use it, they would've done exactly what they did do and split the vote. This way there was at least the chance Jon might go for his deal.

I think it was foolish of Jon & Jaclyn to stick with Missy & Baylor. Didn't they see Natalie so blatantly show her hand when she volunteered to join Baylor at Exile? Clearly Natalie, Baylor, and Missy will unite once the merge happens, putting J&J at the bottom of that alliance. Dale might've been weaselly, but he had no allies left in the game so he's not a threat. Then again, that also means he wouldn't be able to bring any voters over to their little group once they joined the other side, so maybe they did make the right move.

Speaking of the merge - looks like things might finally get interesting next week. Here's what I see happening: Natalie, Baylor & Missy will unite. Jon was on the bottom of his tribe when he was saved by the mix-up and Jaclyn was at the bottom of hers, so neither of them have strong ties anywhere else and will likely stick w/ N,B & M, making an alliance of 5.

After last night's vote, Keith knows for sure that he's the expendable member of that "alliance" so he'll jump right over to Wes, who seems pretty tight with Alec, making an alliance of 3.

That leaves us with two other alliances of two each: Reed & Josh, and Jeremy & Julie. I'm not sure the latter couple is committed enough to go to the end together, but for now they're looking out for each other, and I think their votes will go the same way at the next tribal. I'm not sure which of the other two groups these couples will gravitate to. Josh and Baylor kind of sort of had a bond, but I don't know that it will survive the separation, especially when Baylor has other options.

My prediction is that the vote will be a gang up on one person or pair of people---and I'm thinking Josh & Reed are the power couple that Jeremy will get everyone gunning for. We'll see if any of my predictions pan out.

In another new development, I finally have someone I'm rooting for---Keith. During the tribal I realized that I'd be sad if he was gone. And I just love that he's managed to hang onto the idol this long and hasn't breathed a word of it to anyone. I wonder if he'll tell Wes. I hope he doesn't.


Today's post is sponsored by the number 3

Uno  Alex J. interviewed me as part of his Themes that Rocked at the A to Z challenge blog!

Dos  Bookish Temptations featured an exclusive outtake from THREE DAVES (a scene from David's POV) during their Blogiversary Blowout.

Tres  I'm finally making good on a tag. Back in...er, August, ehe...the wonderful Jennifer Lane, who is in the midst of the successful launch of BLOCKED, a contemporary New Adult political/sports romance, tagged me in the WIP Blog Tour. The rules of the tour are to:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you.

2. Write a little about & give the first sentences of the first 3 chapters of a WIP.

For my WIP, you might think I'd give you sentences from my upcoming chick lit, VIBRIZZIO. But nope. Not yet. And you might expect I'd give you lines from the potential sequel I'm working on right now. Again, nope. I'm weird about sharing what I'm writing while I'm writing it. So today I share with you sentenes from a manuscript that's currently on the backburner. They're from a sci-fi that'll read like a paranormal. It's sexy & creepy with a dose of spiritual. The overriding theme is the quest for mortality.

Chapter 1
Every stilettoed step clicks and crumbles.

Chapter 2
I've been faking it for over fifty years.

Chapter 3
I wasn't aware of him until he was upon my wasted, helpless body.

3. Tag four more writers. I want to see what these writers are up to:

Tag, you're it!


A Day Late & a Million $$ Short: Episode 5 #Survivor

*gasp!* I nearly forgot to post today. Part of the problem is that I just haven't glommed on to any of the Survivors as favorites. I like pretty much everyone, but I don't seem to really care one way or another who goes home. I felt especially that way during the tribal council last night. And that makes this season rather blah for me.

I see two major problems: #1 Boring one-on-one camera time. There's no one like Cochran or Sandra with delightful commentary on their fellow castaways. Raw honesty combined with humor is what makes me love a Survivor. #2 There's no villain. It's hard to throw my support behind anyone when there's no one to be against. God help me---I miss #ChaosCass.

The only thing I have to say about this episode in particular is that I don't support the random tribe mix-ups. I long for a Survivor played old-school with the same rules as Borneo. Because it's a game, right? Shouldn't the players know the rules before they play the game? The ref doesn't stop a football game part way through and say, "Okay, everyone, drop your helmets. We're going to mix up the teams." It can be argued that players should know by now to expect something like that, but I think the mechnics of the when and how should be laid out ahead of time, otherwise luck plays too big a part in the game.

Nicki has spoken. What say you?


Congrats to @JenLaneBooks on the release of Blocked! #NewAdult #Sports #Romace

Congratulations to Jennifer Lane on the release of Blocked, a New Adult sports romace with political flair!  Just in time for election season. You can read my 5-star review of this fantastic story at Goodreads.  For release day, I have a guest post from Jennifer about the influences behind writing this story and her goals in telling it.  

Writing Blocked
by Jennifer Lane

Lucia opened the door. “They say not to discuss politics and religion on the first date.”

“Well, then.” I gave her a huge smile. “We’re screwed.”


Has a political opinion on social media ever made your blood boil? Have you struggled to tolerate friends’ opposing political views? There’s a bitter political divide in many countries, including the US, and those polarized philosophies inspired the story of Blocked.

Heroine Lucia Ramirez and hero Dane Monroe view the world in opposite ways but are thrown together as their parents compete for the US presidency. Underhanded national politics are hardly the place for a trusting relationship to begin, but can love bridge the gap of mistrust and hatred?

The theme of forbidden love intrigues me. Lucia’s conservative father, the Republican nominee for US President, would be horrified to learn of his daughter’s crush on his liberal opponent’s son Dane. Dane and his mother, the Democratic nominee for US President, believe that harsh conservative ideals thwart the American dream.

One lesson from my psychology career is that perception is reality. Democrats see the world quite differently from Republicans, and both groups are hell-bent on proving they’re right. Dane wants equality for all. Lucia stands for individual responsibility. Which philosophy is better? Which will persevere in the next election?

Sometimes, political discussion becomes heated. It gets ugly. In contrast, I tried my hardest to present each viewpoint fairly in this story. Readers and editors from both sides of the aisle critiqued the manuscript, and one reason I self-published the novel was to preserve a delicate balance of political views between Dane and Lucia.

Despite their political differences, Lucia and Dane share one thing in common: volleyball. Both are scholarship volleyball players at a top university, vying to earn a spot on the US national team one day. In addition to swimming, I played volleyball at a small college, and my love for this sport bleeds onto the pages. To smash a perfectly set volleyball down the opponent’s throat? There’s nothing more satisfying. And the closeness of a team is one of life’s special pleasures, experienced by Lucia and Dane.

I hope you enjoy the political and sport elements in Blocked.

Jennifer Lane is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card on her Facebook page for the release! You can enter HERE.

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A Day Late & a Million $$ Short: Episode 4 #Survivor

If there's a rule on Survivor it's DON'T THROW AN IMMUNITY CHALLENGE! (Can you guess what I shouted at my TV this week?) And oh boy, did Drew learn that lesson. Clueless to the end, he thinks they kicked him off the island because he was a threat. No, no dear boy, it was because you were a jerk who was too tied up in your vanity to see what was really going on around you---and that makes you a very weak ally for anyone. So off you go.

That's all you must endure from me this week because I'm off on a road trip Ted & Marshall-style to bring my baby girl home for the first weekend since we dropped her off on campus in August. Have a groovy weekend, everybody!


Spooktacular Twisted Fairy Tale with a chance of #Zombie - Gift Card #Giveaway

Just in time for the Spooktacular giveaway bash, hosted by the I am a Reader blog,
Hans & Greta is only 99 cents on Kindle & FREE to KindleUnlimited members.

Head into the forest with one studly guy and a psycho girl in this twisted fairy tale novella with a chance of zombie.
Click image to find Hans & Greta at Amazon

For my giveaway, I'm offering a $10 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner's choice) AND an eBook of one of my contemporary novels. Choose from Three Daves, a 1980s college romance, or Divine Temptation, a love story of angelic proportions.


A Day Late & a Million $$ Short: Episode 3 #Survivor

Welcome to the third installment of my ramblings on Season 29 of Survivor: Blood vs. Water; San Juan Del Sur. Rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? This week I was joined by my sister for the viewing---hooray! As a result I got a lot of my spewing out that night, so this will just be a quickie post.

#1 I was right! It was Josh who threw the tying vote at Val.

#2 I know I've been dissing the emotion on this show, but I thought it was a really sweet moment between Wes & Keith after the reward challenge---because it was natural and not at all instigated by Probst.

#3 Rocker is such a dope. Why was he at all concerned about earning the favor of one person on the other tribe (Jeremy) while meanwhile irking the people who had the power to vote him out by flat out admitting he'd been trying to manipulate them for his own secretive purpose?

#4 Dale is out as my favorite and Josh is in. If I was on the island, I'd be wary of Josh's aggressive play, but everyone who's actually there seems to be under his spell. Even though his tribe is down in numbers, I believe he'll be able to work that same magic on the other tribe. I like Baylor's pluck and would love to have her as a favorite, but she made a big mistake by poking at the guys' egos when she was trying to win their votes, so I'm not sure she has the finesse to rise to the top.

#5  Those challenges were really weird, right? But I appreciate the absence of puzzles for once.

The vote: for the third week in a row, I'm happy with how it went down (other than wishing the other tribe was the one at council). And with an idol right in his pocket too. Rocker's lack of viable strategy was just too irritating to watch, and I didn't look forward to the future predictable bigot battles that were sure to come. I thought he was surprisingly gracious in his exit speech, so big points to him for that.

Nicki has spoken. Now I leave you with two important questions to ponder---how long will Baylor's awesome orange nail polish last & how hasn't it chipped already?


Gear up for GEARS OF BRASS!

A world like ours, but filled with gears of brass, where the beating heart is fueled by steam and the simplest creation is a complex clockwork device.

Within this tome, you’ll find steampunk fairy tale re-tellings as well as original stories that will send your gears turning.

Welcome to the steampunk realm, with eleven authors guiding your path...

GEARS OF BRASS is a steampunk anthology published through Curiosity Quills.  It will be available for purchase on November 10, 2014.  Within the pages, you’ll come across clockwork inventions and steampunk-ified fairy tale retellings.  Eleven authors will guide you through worlds filled with airships, top hats, and corsets.

How cool is that cover? For a taste of what you're in store for, here's a teaser about SA Larsen's story, TIME SPUN SOULS: it's a mixture of Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, a touch of Indiana Jones and some spice of Larsen's own. Visit her blog for more information on the anthology, the full list of authors, and a GIVEAWAY!


A Day Late & a Million $$ Short: Episode 2 #Survivor

I call this one:
We're Gonna Need a Bigger Buff
I'm back again for my new Friday feature, in which I share my thoughts and feelings about the latest episode of Survivor. (As I said last week, no need for my regular visitors to feel bad about taking a pass on these posts if  you don't watch the show.)

The thing I'll stop harping on...after this: Probst continues to push my buttons by trying to manipulate the castaways' emotions. He acts like he cares, but really, he's just being cruel by intentionally drawing out their tears. He's clearly been given a Barbara Walters directive for the season, but happily, the players aren't dwelling on their feelings as much as the producers would like. So I guess I won't either.

The thing I shouted at my TV: "She's half his height!" I can't stand it when they don't adjust the individual challenges for varying height or foot size, and this reward challenge had a clear advantage for the vertically challenged. All Rocker's girlfriend had to do to get under the limbo sticks was swish her ponytail to one side while he had to practically bend in half while balancing that ball. It would've been easy enough and totally fair to put the sticks at, say, 3/4 of each of their heights, no?

My emerging lovable favorite: Wes. He stole my heart when he started rooting for Reed in the head-to-head challenge & had to be told Josh was the one in his tribe. Names, schmames, eh? He just may bumble his way to the end because he's so non-threatening...assuming his tribe doesn't conitnue to lose every single challenge.

My emerging strategic favorite: Eh, jury's still out. Probably need to see a vote go down in Hunapuh before I can decide. Hold the phone---assuming Coyopa can start winning any time soon, I do like Dale. He's already shown that he has influence in the tribe, nobody will think of him as a physical threat because of his age, he's got a level head, and he's a big reality TV fan so he's likely got strategic game. I reserve my right to completely reverse this opinion at any point in the future.

The vote: I was cracking up that Val's foolish lie about having not one but TWO idols ended up doing her in. Chances are she wasn't long for this game, anyhow, but claiming to have two idols so early on was a stretch. What actually made me laugh harder was that anyone believed her. Even after she didn't produce an idol after the first vote, Rocker was all "I told you to use it" intead of seeming to have a clue that she'd been lying.

But the more interesting thing is...who threw that extra vote at Val? The alliance was supposed to go 3 Val, 3 Baylor, and then Val &  Jaclyn would throw their votes at Baylor, making it 3 Val, 5 Baylor. Instead we got a tie. And we didn't get to see how the first round of votes went during the credits because they only showed the votes from the second vote. My guess is it was Josh. He was suspicious after Val & Rocker went walking off alone---and they didn't even try to hide it, duh---and he showed the first week that he's not afraid to stray from the pack. I really can't imagine it being anyone but him.

Nicki has spoken. Now it's your turn. Who do you think cast the renegade vote during the first round? Do you have an emerging favorite yet? Where, oh where is that flint?


Busting the Myths about Book Marketing #IWSG

Last month was the three year anniversary of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and only (as far as we can prove) Alex J. Cavannaugh, and today is the one year anniversary of the IWSG website for writers. Happy anniversary, Team IWSG!

To celebrate, the team has asked IWSG members to contribute a post with our favorite piece of advice in either writing, publishing, or marketing. These bits of wisdom will be pulled together in the IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. My contribution falls into the Marketing category. I hereby give my permission for the following post to be included in the guide.

Myths I Believed When I was First Published
by Nicki Elson, author of contemporary love stories

I'm a little uncomfortable acting like I know what works when it comes to marketing a book, because clearly I don't, but I have managed to learn at least a few things in the almost five years since my first book was published. Today, I'd like to share with you three things I've found out aren't true about marketing a book. In bold are things I believed when I was first published; following each of these myths is what I've learned to be the reality.

1. There's no point in writing another book until you prove that you can sell the first one you publish. For nearly a year and a half this kind of thinking kept me trapped like a panicky squirrel on a busy road jumping from marketing opportunity to marketing opportunity instead of calming the freak down and working on the next book. Yes, we have to put solid time and effort into marketing, but the truth is that there's only so much we can do to get our books into the hands of readers. To be successful, a book has to start selling itself via word of mouth at some point, and that will either happen or it won't. It's out of our control.

We never know which of our books is going to strike a chord with the reading public, but our best shot of having a hit is by writing more books not by forever beating our heads against one book that for whatever reason just hasn't gained traction.

2. Having a gagillion followers on the social networks will automatically translate into huge book sales. Watching numbers go up is always fun, and it's not a bad thing to be adored in the social networks, but don't expect every single one of your followers---or even a decent percentage of them---to dash out to buy your book the moment it hits the presses...or ever. Social networking is a great way to keep a pulse on reader tastes and to network with writers, agents, and publishers. It's also an easy and free way to get the word out about your books, but again, for a book to find sustainable sales success, those Tweeters need to start talking about your book on their own. That's not something you can force, even with a massive league of followers.

Rather than wasting your time on "add followers" gimmicks that will only result in followers who really don't care what you have to say, let your following grow at a natural, slower pace, and use that gimmick time for writing instead.

3. It's important to cajole everyone you know into reading your book and then pressure them to write a review on Amazon. No matter how big your family is or how many friends you have, their purchases and reviews are not going to make or break your book's success. I'm not saying to keep your publication a secret from them---by all means send your "people" an e-mail to let them know about your book, post on Facebook about it, and invite them all to your release bash. But leave it there and don't pester those who don't show an interest. That will only lead to awkwardness and hurt feelings.

Cherish those who do read and enjoy, and let that positivity energize you as you push forth to find new ways to get your book into the hands of readers who truly want it.

[End IWSG Post]

Since I'm in a mood to pretend I know what I'm doing, I've got an article going up at Savvy Authors on October 2 called "Social Networking Anxiety," in which I give social networking tips to the socially shy. Please stop by if you have the time and interest.

In other news, the amazing M.Pax is gearing up for Realms Faire 2014! I had so much fun bloodying the other knights in the Realms Faire Joust last year, that I've decided to host my own event this year. Learn all about the Realms Faire and sign up to participate or as a sponsor right here.