Blog Archives

#Free Short Story Collection – Still Life Paintings by Karen Fowler (7/26/13 only!)

Just wanted to pop in and let everyone know that Karen’s short story collection Still Life Paintings is free today only over on Amazon!

Click on the book’s cover to go get your copy!

BLANK cover smaller

Book Review – Thoroughly Modern Monsters by Jennifer Rainey

Thoroughly Modern MonstersThoroughly Modern Monsters by Jennifer Rainey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If these stories contained in this collection are any indication of the freaking genius lurking in Rainey’s mind, I foresee many fantastic books to come in the future. I loved the author’s creativity and spunk, which shines through each story in the collection despite their length (which is hard to do, mind you.)

View all my reviews

Short Story Review- The Witch Sea by Sarah Diemer

The Witch SeaThe Witch Sea by Sarah Diemer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This short story didnt feel so much as “written” as it did painted by masterful brushstrokes. It was lyrical, haunting and exceptionally crafted. In fact, I got so into it that it certainly didn’t feel like a short work at all, just that I’d read a novella (devoured actually) in record time.

If your expecting a little girl-on-girl action, you won’t get it here. Well maybe just a little, but this is certainly not erotica. This story is more a fantastical love tragedy than any standard genre read.

I’ve certainly found a new favorite author! Pick it up, you won’t be sorry:-)

View all my reviews

A Day Late… Ebook Deals in Honor of National Coming Out Day (October 11th)

My sister always says I’ll be late to my own funeral. She’s probably right. I can picture it now, the hearse will have a flat, or the driver will be sleeping off a bender under the shade of an old oak tree 🙂

So I *technically* missed National Coming Out Day, but the good news is that the book promo organized by a fellow author to bring awareness to the event is running for several more days, so there’s still time to get some fantastic bargains of at least 50% off (and even some free books!) via Smashwords.

For those of you not familiar with Smashwords, the online book retailer has numerous formats available for customers who have everything from a Kindle to a Nook, and many others.
PROMO LINK: http://www.matthewgrantonline.com/comingoutdaypromo.html

What’s Going On? (Reading, Writing & Editing Updates)

I’ve been busy slaving over Blood Chord edits and haven’t had the chance to post much lately, so I thought I’d give a quick little run-down of what been going on behind the scenes here at Quirky Gurl Media.

First, I decided to polish up a short story from a few years back and release it as an ebook. Right now, it’s only available on Amazon, as I’m still on the fence about taking it Select exclusive. The story, titled Just Desserts, is about a woman coming to grips with the death of her abusive husband. This isn’t your typical survivor story. Rather, it’s the story of a woman angry that she was robbed of the chance to defend herself by a stupid twist of fate. It takes a conversation with her dying Aunt to help her move past the anger that’s been holding her back. Check it out if you get a chance.

I’ve been working on edits for Blood Chord and I can honestly say that the end is nigh! On top of that, I added another 10,000 words to it as part of the Kindle Boards 60k Feb writing challenge. The additional words furthered the plot, but they’ve also given me fodder for future books in the series. One of which goes straight back to 16th Century Italy and the Medici family. That one should be delish!

I’m currently reading Hush, by Anne Frasier. It took me a few pages to get into (but that may be the head-cold talking) but once I found my rythem I’m clipping along nicely with it. So far, so good. I’ll share my full impression when I’m done. 

That’s all folks. I’m off to work on that writing challenge before Theraflu and bedtime!

Library-Lubber, Yes I Am!

 As I’ve grown up, many of my interests have fallen by the wayside. No, I’m not on a self-actualized quest to become a jack-of-all-trades. I’ve just outgrown certain things, or they decided to outgrow me first.

Tennis turned into keeping my kids from bouncing off the walls. Horseback riding was a tad to risky to me– since I virtually spent three years having babies and recovering from having babies.

Any kind of crafty project is just way too inviting for my kids; paints, hot-glue guns, thread and needle– try keeping all that away from a brood of toddlers.

I did manage to hang on to one of my most favorite past-times– reading. I can do that during my twenty minutes of solitude in a bubble-bath. I can do that leaning over the kitchen counter in between burger flips. I can do that with one child sitting in my lap and the other clinging to my leg out of jealousy. I can read anytime, anywhere.

I vividly recall my mom fussing one lazy summer afternoon about my irritating devotion to the printed word.

The heat was unbearable. You know, those dry, molten days when you just wish the Chesapeake Bay would rise up and flood your back yard. A day so hot, drowning wouldn’t be so bad…as long as you got to be in cool water for the process.

Mom was going to The Pool. On those days, everyone went to The Pool. Everyone, that is, except me– and my mom just didn’t understand. Why in the world I would rather sit cooped up in the house, when I could be frolicking with half the Shore at The Pool?

That was just they way I was, and that’s the way I still am.

My husband complains sometimes, too.

Can’t you just put that book down for five minutes?” He’ll say, leering over our dinner plates, while my daughter pitches macaroni across the room.

Yes, I read through dinner sometimes. I read on the treadmill at the YMCA. I’ll read pretty much whenever a few minutes of free time presents itself. I guess one could argue that I’m addicted to books, and I wouldn’t deny it. But then, there are worse addictions one could have, I would point out.

Sometimes, I was able to coerce my mom into dropping me at the library on her way to The Pool. Those were my favorite summer days. While the Shore sweated it out in the elements, I sat cross-legged amid a pile of books. I meandered down the aisles in search of that perfect book, much like Dorothy on her quest down the yellow brick road.

While the dragonfly’s and bumble-bee’s hummed outside, I sat in the library as the hum of the air conditioner carried me through historical battles, futuristic planets, and steamy mysteries (that I will admit, I probably shouldn’t have read back then).

Go ahead, call me a “Library Lover”. I can take it. After all, it’s true.

I shudder to think who I would be if the library hadn’t been there to foster my love of the printed word.

Fortunately, there are many people out there that agree with me. We could make up a club. At the least, someone thought to designate the month of February for us– as Library Lovers Month.

So while I could sit here all day and expound on my debt to the Eastern Shore Public Library, I have better things to do. What, you ask?

Well, of course, I’m going to the library.

Friday Freebies – Free Kindle Books

Thought I’d start the (almost) weekend off with a bang and announce two of our books that are FREE today on Amazon as part of the Select program. Earlier in the week, I let Memories For Sale, SKIN, and Reflections of Motherhood go free for a day and the response was great!

That prompted me to go ahead and pull the ebook Still Life Paintings from Smashwords and B&N so that I could put the story collection into the program as well. So, today and tomorrow (Jan. 13th and 14th) only, Still Life Paintings is free for download on Amazon. It’s my hope that offering the book for free will encourage more reviews. The book has gotten great reviews, but what it needs now is more volume. Crossing Fingers!

Also, since I screwed up the previous freebie for Reflections on Motherhood (supposed to be free for two days, but the special only ran for one day) I’ve decided to go ahead and run another One-day-only freebie today (Jan 13th) for Reflections as well.

As usual, I’m blogging about the freebies, and I plan on posting on FB and Twitter, but I could always use the help spreading the word!

More Freebies! Two from Author Gabriel Beyers

In addition to the limited-time FREE promo for my short fiction collection, SKIN over on Amazon, I’ve just discovered that an author I featured here several months back also has FREE books on Amazon today, so I want to help spread the word for him.

Some of you may remember my feature of Gabriel Beyers a few months ago. If not, you can read his post here. Both of his books are Free today over on Amazon!

First up is Guarding the Healer:

Product Description
When Silas Walker is endowed with the power to heal, he soon discovers that no gift comes without a price.

A man possessed by an ancient evil is taunting the healer with photos of victims brutally murdered and marked with the crude image of an angel, and for Silas the slain are growing more familiar.

After he is given an ominous warning and an unbearable ultimatum, Silas sets out to draw his enemy away from those he loves, and discover the true purpose of his gift, which leads him inexplicably to a troubled young drifter named Tommy.

The Stalker is close on the healer’s trail, bringing with him an army of demons. Silas’s only hope rests in the hands of a guardian angel he doesn’t even know exists.

The Guardian is doing all within his power to save the healer, but he is certain Silas is heading into a trap. Time is running out. War is at hand.

But there is no turning back. For even an angel can’t alter a man’s destiny.

And then there is Contemplations of Dinner also FREE today as well!

Product Description
A secret hidden in a freezer. A lonely woman takes solace in an ancient cat. A boy is trapped in a barn with a gang of killers. An open grave awaits an occupant. A man is encouraged to kill by a long lost love. And more.

Here lies ten eerie tales from the mind of author Gabriel Beyers.

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So what are you waiting for? Go get yourself some Free Books why don’tcha!

(Don’t forget to snag a FREE copy of SKIN while you’re over on Amazon too!)

Always Late For The Party or, Reading List Catch-Up

Of the few constant thing in my life, no is more true than this: I am always late for everything. I can leave early. I can leave on time. It doesn’t matter really. I will always arrive five to ten minutes late. A dead car battery, a chain of creeping tractors in the road. Something always comes up.

I’m hoping that applies to my funeral as well, so at least some smart-assed relative can say, “See, I always told you she’d be late to her own funeral. Hand over the five-spot.”

But I digress. I seem to do a lot of that on here. My brain does tend to spurt off on tangents… see there I go again. What was I talking about? Oh, yes. Catching up on my huge list of To-Be-Read books. Or I was getting there at least.

So always late to the party, I am reading a Halloween themed book just a few weeks before Christmas. It’s probably my unconscious’s way of tempering the sticky-sweet feel-good holidays with something of the darker variety. What ever my motive, I’m really enjoying my latest read. It’s The Halloween Collection by the fantastically creative people at Indie Eclective.

So far I’ve read Ralphie the Special Werewolf by P.J. Jones (fantabulously hilarious!), Sunwalker’s Kiss by Shéa MacLeod (I want to see more of Jackson- a lot more 🙂 ), Haunting in OR 13, by Alan Nayes (creepy, spooky and expertly crafted), and To Taste of Shimmering Revenge by Jack Wallen (witty, greusome and buckets of fun) but I’m sure the rest of the stories are just as good. I’ll include the Amazon product desctiprion below for all the slightly-twisted Gurls and Boyz out there.

As of this writing, the collection is actually FREE over on Amazon. It’s a great way to sample some of the hottest Indie Authors out there and won’t cost you a dime (for now anyway) so what are you waiting for? Go check it out!

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION FROM AMAZON:
The Indie Eclective: What is it, who are they, and why can they spell neither “eclectic” nor “collective” correctly? The Indie Eclective is an ensemble of authors operating under the assumption that Readers like Good Books. The Halloween Collection showcases spooky reads from nine very different authors. Whether you enjoy light or dark paranormal, YA or adult-themed genres, there’s bound to be a story to suit your tastes. Thanks for reading!

Rhyn Trilogy: Origins, by Lizzy Ford: Gabriel’s fate as an assassin seems set until he meets a courageous half-demon child named Rhyn, whose plight rekindles the humanity he thought he’d lost.

Ralphie the Special Werewolf by P.J. Jones: Ralphie doesn’t want to get snipped, but his pack is tired of watching him defile the sofa cushions. Now, he’s got to find a mate by Halloween night—or else.

Sunwalker’s Kiss by Shéa MacLeod: While searching for a magical bloodline, Sunwalker Jackson Keel discovers magic of a different kind.

The Village of Those Who Touch The Dead by M. Edward McNally: “All obligations will be paid. There are no exceptions.”’

Haunting in OR 13, by Alan Nayes: Halloween never frightened Sara McCaffe, until she stepped into Operating Room 13!

To Taste of Shimmering Revenge by Jack Wallen: A vampire is awakened after four hundred years only to find his kind embarrassed and shamed by the rash of shimmery, hunky vampires on the big screen. His revenge will be sweet and tasty.

Magickal Vendetta by Heather Adkins – Revenge is a dish best served up in a pink saucepan for accident-prone blood witch, Gretchen. By harnessing the power of Halloween, she hopes to break the bond with the soulmate who did her wrong.

From the Keegan’s Chronicles series: Haunted House by Julia Crane – Keegan, Lauren, and Anna find much more than they bargained for during an innocent trip to a commercial haunted house. Someone long dead awaits them on the second floor…

From the Gifted Teens series: Mind-Blower by Talia Jager – Kassia and Daxton’s romantic picnic is interrupted by the arrival of creatures bent on her destruction. Will her powers fail her when she needs them most?

Writing Prompt #1

Often while toiling away in my daily life, whether I’m at work designing custom art for industry musicians or knee-deep in a pile of dirty laundry, I’m struck by a flash of sudden story inspiration. SSI for you folks who like to abbreviate everything.

(No that’s not my head. I do many things to my hair- the current expression being chocolate with a literal blue-streak, but if I shave my head my spouse would probably give up entirely!) 

Don’t chuckle at my affliction, please. It is a real and depressing condition. Seriously. Harvard is giving away grant money to studies that are actively seeking a cure. I promise! Merck already has an expirimental drug. I’m all over that… just as soon as they eliminate a few of the “explosive” side effects.

But I digress. Imagine, if you will, being a writer without enough time to get all of those delicious stories out of her head. They crowd and jostle. It feels like when drank too much Kool-aid as a kid. I can practically feel the sloshing-around. Can you feel my pain yet? Of course you can. You’re probably like me: a voracious reader, writer and overall busy person.

So, without the ability to clone myself or the funds to hire a maid, I’ve decided to set some of my little gems free. So without further ado, here’s my inagural Writing Prompt #1:

I heard someone say that every seven years, the human body goes through one complete cycle of replacing its cells. The person you were seven years ago is physically an entirely different than the one you are today. Now, I have no idea if this is actually true, but think of the literary possibilities!

What if, instead of genetic replicas of the former cells, a virus is activated. Maybe it’s a curse unleashed by a relic. Or a deadly consequence from clandestine experiments. Whatever the cause, slowly your body’s cells are replaced by these mutants. So slowly, that none of your friends or family notices until that crucial tipping point is reached. You begin to act completely out of character. Maybe you are discovered gnawing on a fluffy little bunny-wabbit in the back yard. Or maybe you begin to lose your memories one at a time- one for each cell that’s replaced.

What if the affected person is your spouse, your cherubic toddler, your boss? What if it’s the ruler of the free world? Or that sweet little old ladie that always gives you her peppermints?

What does the “replaced” person want? How has the cellular switcheroo affected them? Do they crave human brains marinated in tobasco sauce? Do they go off on an altruistic journey?

Are they even human anymore? Is it contagious? If so, how is the virus (or proton, amoeba, etc.) spread?

Now that I’ve given you some food for thought, what will you do with it? If you decide to craft a story or novel from this prompt I’d love to hear about it! Feel free to leave links in the comments below so we can all see how one idea can spin off into infinite directions!

Book Review – Cage Life by Karin Cox

I snagged this book while it was offered for free over on Amazon, mainly because I’ve seen the author around on a few boards and I was curious about her work. After reading Cage Life, I felt a little girl-crush coming on. Cox writes with such beauty and insight that I found myself jealous. She writes like I aspire to. She writes like people think, even when they don’t realize it.

Evocative. Haunting. Powerful. – I could be describing the story collection or the author’s gift for the written word. In fact, I am describing both.

You should scoot on over to Amazon now, check out Cage Life and Karin Cox’s other works. Maybe you can still snag it for free!

Product Description From Amazon:

What happens when life doesn’t turn out as planned? This collection of two evocative stories (each with a surprising twist) explores the choices and compromises we make in life and in love, and how they can trap or liberate us, depending on our mindset. Each story comes with an unexpected twist that makes reading all the way to the end imperative.

In “Cage Life,” first published by [untitled] in 2010 as “Still Life”, a young mum feels like a prisoner in her own home. Her decision to escape the bonds of marriage and motherhood, just for a few hours, has unexpected consequences that force her to a re-evaluate what it really means to be loved, to be married, and to be free.

In “The Usurper,” unconditional love is explored within the boundaries of age and longing. Basil is in his eighties, with an illustrious career in law enforcement behind him, when he meets Carla — a beautiful, energetic and much younger mistress. But when Simon appears on the scene, can Basil keep her or does she, in fact, keep him?

Introducing THE Halloween Collection!

Today, I’d like to let you all in on a smashing new story collection by some of the “creme de la creme” of Indie Writers theses days. I’ve featured several of the authors already here, so you may see some familiar names.

The collection has just been released and looks to be the perfect fall warm-up reading, so I can’t wait to read it. So join me in checking it out… and then pop back over here to discuss! (Indoor voices please, the dragon gets cranky without her required beauty sleep!)

Sunwalker’s Kiss by Shéa MacLeod: While searching for a magical bloodline, Sunwalker Jackson Keel discovers magic of a different kind.
Other stories:Rhyn Trilogy: Origins, by Lizzy Ford: Gabriel’s fate as an assassin seems set until he meets a courageous half-demon child named Rhyn, whose plight rekindles the humanity he thought he’d lost.
Ralphie the Special Werewolf by P.J. Jones: Ralphie doesn’t want to get snipped, but his pack is tired of watching him defile the sofa cushions. Now, he’s got to find a mate by Halloween night—or else.
The Village of Those Who Touch The Dead by M. Edward McNally: “All obligations will be paid. There are no exceptions.”’
Haunting in OR 13, by Alan Nayes: Halloween never frightened Sara McCaffe, until she stepped into Operating Room 13!
To Taste of Shimmering Revenge by Jack Wallen: A vampire is awakened after four hundred years only to find his kind embarrassed and shamed by the rash of shimmery, hunky vampires on the big screen. His revenge will be sweet and tasty.
Magickal Vendetta by Heather Adkins – Revenge is a dish best served up in a pink saucepan for accident-prone blood witch, Gretchen. By harnessing the power of Halloween, she hopes to break the bond with the soulmate who did her wrong.
From the Keegan’s Chronicles series: Haunted House by Julia Crane – Keegan, Lauren, and Anna find much more than they bargained for during an innocent trip to a commercial haunted house. Someone long dead awaits them on the second floor…
From the Gifted Teens series: Mind-Blower by Talia Jager – Kassia and Daxton’s romantic picnic is interrupted by the arrival of creatures bent on her destruction. Will her powers fail her when she needs them most?

Pick it up absolutely FREE on Smashwords !!!
Also available on:
Amazon US = 99 cents
Amazon UK = 86 pence

Flash-N Fridays – Recycled

 

Welcome to FLASH-N FRIDAY’S. In case your mind is in the gutter, you won’t find any naughty pictures in this segment. Just down and dirty flash fiction writing.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: The art of Short Fiction is severely under-rated. If writer’s, and readers, stop to think about it for one minute, they would see that not only is writing a complete story with few words very hard to do, but it also can be used to hone a writer’s skill. In flash fiction you’re working with limited real estate, and each word chosen must work overtime.

 ** Maximum word count is 300. I’m not even limiting it to genres. (well, maybe erotic is out, but everything else goes 🙂 Also, I have found that a great way to jump-start these little flash sessions is to browse for inspiring images like the one posted below the story. *******

Recycled

 I don’t think I understand.” I brushed the bagel crumbs aside and memorized how the sun reflected off my small, hopeful, diamond ring. He circled the kitchen, one eye on me. Vulture.

Are you even listening to me?” He stared at me with a blank face, like I was not anyone he cared about at all.

I always listen to you.” I hated when he did that. Like he was trying to find words that my simple brain could comprehend. Like I was a child. Like I was beneath him.

Of course, I had been beneath him. I had been on top of him. I had been beside him. Through it all– his divorce, the bankruptcy– I had been there. I had thought that was enough.

Deena!” He exhaled deeply, his frustration curling out from his mouth like a long-held plume of cigarette smoke. “DO YOU GET IT?”

He spelled it all out for me again. He was leaving me for another woman. That, I didn’t get. How could he leave his “other woman” for another woman?

The logic was warped. Of course, I was no longer the other woman. His original was discarded last year, like I was being trashed now. Recycling…save the planet and all that crap.

We’ll see.” Images of the two of us flashed into memory. On the trunk of his sedan. My favorite panties–silk with pink flowers– on his rear-mounted antenna.

 Now I am parked outside his apartment, my motor rumbling like a hungry kitty.

I’ll wait until he comes out, watch him drive off, then I’ll follow him straight to hell. When he comes to the sharp corner on his way to her house, I’ll get mine, pulling over to listen to the hollow-tin echos from below.

 

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I hope you enjoyed this brief foray into my quivering cerebellum. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming!        ~Karen