Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's that time of year again

The Christmas tree's dropping its needles in the family room. Waistlines expanded from too many goodies, thoughts of resolutions are dancing in our heads.

And... the annual Preditors and Editors poll is up!

This year, you can support several Susquehanna Writers with one vote - for A Community of Writers, nominated in the Best Anthology category:

Please note: You must validate your vote by clicking the link sent to the email address you provide, so it's a two-step process.

I'd also love your votes for Cate Masters titles in these categories:

Cate Masters

And for my literary family saga, written under the pen name of C.A. Masterson:

I worked very hard and was proud of the way my book cover turned out for In the Midnight Hour. It's listed under Book Cover: In the Midnight Hour

Authors work very hard all year long. It's wonderful to receive feedback anytime, but gratifying to receive votes from readers who've enjoyed our work.

I hope you'll consider voting! And thanks for your support. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"A Uniquely Colorful Approach to Time Management"

My article appeared online today. I got the news in an email newsletter I subscribe to - I had actually forgotten that it was going live today.

I had also forgotten the little thrill that comes with seeing your work in print. For the last several years, I've been concentrating on longer works and article writing has fallen by the wayside. Now that I'm retired, I've set my sights on the freelance market again, certain that I can (eventually) structure my time so that I can write long works and short works, garnering the benefits of both.

Long works (novels, in my case) are fun in their own right. Watching the story develop. Following characters along winding roads and down blind alleys (which get cut in revisions) and getting to know them as one gets to know a friend - a friend who lives in your house with you for an extended period of time, yet never gets in your way or messes up the bathroom.

But short pieces give immediate satisfaction. They take less time to write. They can be sold in less than half the time it takes to find someone to read even the manuscript of your book. And the checks and sample copies (usually) show up quickly.

Which brings me back to that little thrill. As a reader, I'm sure you won't have quite the same reaction I did upon seeing the link and the editor's description ("a uniquely colorful apporoach to time management") but still, I hope you'll check the article out at

Monday, December 10, 2012

Story the Swept the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards

This story, "Paper Menagerie," by Ken Liu swept all three major fantasy/science fiction awards: the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards. It's simple and well-written, but filled with heart. Although it brought tears to my eyes,  it's also getting some harsh criticism. Interesting how different people reading the same story will have totally different reactions. What do you think?

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Magical Part of the Process

school supplies
This has been a month of major deadlines--a YA historical due to the editor mid-month, 60 articles on children's and YA authors due today, and a 3-sample-chapter request from a book packager. Plus NaNo--which got a bit sidelined with all the traveling for the holidays. (Although part of that travel meant I got to spend time with my fav CPs from PA!!)

Now I've met all my deadlines and I'm ready to start on a new project. It's temporarily under wraps, but I've started some research and hope to get a lot done on it over the next month or two. I'm working with a great collaborator (it's actually her idea that we're working on). It's exciting to work with someone so enthusiastic and supportive!! Can't wait to see what we produce together. And thank heavens for the Internet and cell phones as we live on opposite sides of the country.

Right now I'm in the fun stage of the project--the preparation. It always reminds me of getting ready for the first day of school. The blank pages of new notebooks and smell of sharpened pencils and pointiness of unused crayons. The anticipation.. The adrenaline surge when everything is fresh and new, and anything can happen.

So much of writing is just showing up to the page, churning out word counts, ignoring carpal tunnel syndrome and stiff necks. So before the newness wears off and the dull dailiness sets in, I'm taking time to revel in the broad expanse where anything can happen and usually does. This is when magic happens.

What part of the writing process do you find magical?

Bonus: I've shared some wisdom about rejection letters and bad reviews on the Downtown YA blog. If you're feeling discouraged, you might want to pop over there for a little encouragement.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I love writing at Starbucks. The drinks are a wonderful bonus, of course, but it's not just about the chai. It's about the focus.

At home, there are a million things clamoring for my attention. Okay, maybe not a million, but I can certainly find plenty of things to do when the writing isn't flowing. Even when I'm determined to focus on my writing, clutter and household chores send little jabs of guilt my way, distracting me from the task at hand, interfering with the writing and kicking the distractibility cycle into gear.

Going to Starbucks is like going to the office. There are rules. They're self-imposed, but when I physically leave the house in order to write, I feel obligated to follow them and just write. No Facebook or Words With Friends until the job is done. These things are "breaks," allowed only when I've reached a certain productivity point. Ditto emails, and as for phone calls, the hubbub around me rules out all but the most necessary: work-related and calls from home.

It's odd, actually, that someone who needs quiet to write at home can function in the constant undercurrent of noise that is the atmosphere at Starbucks, but since none of the noise is directed at me personally, I have learned to tune it out. And, if the lyrics to the music from the sound system begin to integrate themselves into my brain waves, I can always pull out my earbuds and change the tune, or simply block it out.

But mostly, the writing comes when I'm at Starbucks simply out of habit. I've been doing this long enough that I have almost a Pavlovian reaction. Order drink, sit down, open laptop and write. Repeat as necessary.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have an ebook to write.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


For those of you familiar with NaNoWriMo, no, I didn't leave two syllables out. I discovered today there's another WriMo in town. It's EBookWriMo!

I discovered this in a blog that hit my inbox a couple of days ago, and its follow-up cousin which arrived late this afternoon. Inspired my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and an excellent post by Ali Luke,  Copyblogger is launching EBookWriMo - the, ahem - opportunity - to write an e-book in the 30 days that comprise the month of November.

I've tried NaNoWriMo, and I have friends who're taking the challenge again this year, but I'm not at a place in my writing where NaNoWriMo is a good fit for me. This e-book challenge? Intriguing.

So, as I continue to struggle with the procrastination that surrounds necessary revisions, I've decided to give this a shot. I'm hoping it will nurture my revisions and vice versa. I have 30 days to find out.

To all you writers out there, whether you're WriMo-ing or not in November, I wish you luck. Daily, in every month, we eke out time to put words on a page. May your November be fun, productive and perhaps even profitable.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Peer Pressure

This. Is. It. This is the week that I will finally tackle those looming revisions. The ones I've been putting off for over a month. The ones my agent asked me for two weeks ago.

Oh, sure, I've had good reason to put off this daunting task. Recently retired, I've been working on finding the balance and routine that come with this new stage of life. In addition, I have family responsibilities, classes to prepare for and teach...lots of good reasons to procrastinate.

The best one, perhaps, is that the last chunk of pages that I revised mysteriously disappeared. One afternoon when we were at the beach, I sat by the pool and powered through several chapters. Then, I brought them home, and set them aside. I finally uncovered them a couple of weeks ago, and I was delighted to see them...despite the fact that my last excuse for not revising disappeared when they reappeared.

So, I'm taking drastic measures. I'm going public. I am telling you all that this is the week I'm doing it. I will have pages to submit to my group in two days, even if they're only the pages I revised at the beach.

So, if you're reading this, please help me out. Leave a comment or come find me on Facebook and ask me how many pages I've revised. If I'm still procrastinating (no matter how productively), I won't like reading your message, but in the end, I will thank you.

If you're feeling really supportive, perhaps you'll join me by tackling something you've been putting off.  And if you do, please leave me a comment or find me on Facebook. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Spooktacular fun all month!

Do you love all things Halloween?

Then you'll want to visit my blog at every day this month. Every weekday, a new guest will share ghoulishly good recipes and spine-tingling stories.

One of my interview questions is: Have you ever had an unusual experience you couldn't explain? How many have answered yes? Come find out! And find out what happened when Annie Marshall took this photo of a cemetery in St. Augustine!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Banned books? In 2012?

It's hard to believe, isn't it? Books are still under attack, and face the threat of censorship. Luckily, Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read.

Come to my Banned Books Week blog post at and share your opinion for a chance to win a $10 gift card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

911: A Day Worth Remembering

I remember that day. I was gathering items
of clothing, placing them in a bag to take to goodwill. My daughter was with me, so little then, her fairy tale eyes saw no evil in the world. It was all about princesses and
dress-up and barbie dolls. Dragon Tales was the episode of the morning.  Then I called
my mother.
        "Are you watching the news?"
        I never watched the news that time of
the day, but I switched channels and there it was: A burning tower. Shocked and unable
to grasp what was happening, I became glued to the set, and to my friend and neighbor up
the street whose husband was at that very
time a pilot for USAir, on his way somewhere.
I never witnessed such silence, stillness in the air.
        "Mommy, when are we leaving? Can we go to the park?"
        You know the rest of the story. My friend's plane landed, and he returned safely home a few days later. And we all went back to work, a little more fearfully.
         I knew in my heart that day that my children's world would never be the same. They continued to play as they always did not noticing the changes around them, or understanding the evilness behind the event.  And something sparked inside of me.
An idea, a thought.
         It's not what people look like that defines a nation, it is how they live.
         It wasn't until a trip to Yellowstone National Park that I put that thought to
words, and "The Yellow Stone" is the result. First published in 2006, "The Yellow Stone" is one of my many previously published short stories included in my
         To honor 911, I am having a FREE Kindle giveaway today and tomorrow.
You may read "The Yellow Stone," as well as eleven other short stories there.
         This is a great nation we live in, and will continue to be.
         Get your FREE Kindle version of SPECULATIVE JOURNEYS by clicking on
the title.

Visit my blog to read more about my writing here.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Illuminating the Past

Sometimes when you visit a certain place, its history confronts you on every street. Though it might be thriving today, the past is layered behind its present, inviting you to explore.

That's what happened when I visited Key West. The bustling little island is a popular tourist spot, but several of the attractions captivated my imagination. All centered around the wreckers - men who salvaged the tall ships after they wrecked on the reefs surrounding the island. During a visit to a wrecker museum, a story flashed through my head. I had to know more.  

So I visited yet another museum, the historic home of a local wrecker captain. So fascinating, I bought a few books but still wanted more, so I spent the next two days in the library. It felt like finding hidden treasure when I found the old letters and documents stored there.

Before I even left the island, I knew I had to write that story that flashed through my head. It took years, but the result was Angels, Sinners and Madmen, first published by Freya's Bower. By the time the rights reverted to me this summer, I'd already spent many more months revising the original story - strengthening the plot line and the heroine.

Of the original version, reviewers called it “enchanting,” adding “I loved it and applaud Cate for creating a time in the past that seems so real in this book.” Another said: “You will fall in love these two characters along with the rest of Sam's wrecker friends. Laughter, tragedy and heroism abound, so make sure you have plenty of time when you start reading Angels, Sinners and Madmen, because you will not want to put this gripping story down until you have read every single word of it.”

Today begins its free run on Amazon, lasting from Sept. 7 through 9. I hope you'll pick up a copy of this novel, and learn more about the wreckers and their fascinating history through the eyes of wrecker Sam Langhorne and aspiring writer Livvie Collins.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Marketing with Influencers

So many writers dream of getting published, but then once they do, they hard work begins -- marketing their book. I watch in awe as some of my published friends come up with great ideas to get their books into the hands of the public and spread the word. One of my friends who's a whiz at marketing is Jill Williamson. She has a new book coming out in September from Marcher Lord Press.

Jill has awesome book trailers (see one below) and a large cadre of influencers. What are influencers? They're people who agree to spread the word about your book in exchange for a free copy.

One of the best ways to start a buzz for your soon-to-be-published book is to get people talking about it--on Amazon, Goodreads, and social media. That's what influencers can do for you. Influencers are bloggers and people connected to the writing community --and even more importantly, they're connected to the reading community. Look for librarians, teachers, or special interest groups that love what you write about. Then contact them to see what they can do spread the word about you're upcoming book.

Can you guess I'm one of Jill's influencers? I love talking about her books and can't wait to read this one. As a YA editor and reader (yeah, I never grew up!), I always enjoy thrillers with strong leads and lots of conflict, and this certainly sounds as if it will have both.

Here's the blurb:

The New Recruit is a young adult supernatural/suspense novel about a guy who gets recruited into a spy organization that fights the supernatural. It’s book one in the four-book Mission League series.

Here is a little info about the story:

Forced to choose between military school and a Christian spy organization, skeptic Spencer Garmond signs on with the Bible geeks. But before he even boards the plane for Moscow, Spencer realizes this is no Bible club.

These guys mean business.

Stumbling onto a case involving a gang of homeless boys, a chilling tattoo, and the always beautiful Anya Vseveloda, Spencer struggles to find the faith needed to save the Mission League from enemy infiltration.

If it looks like something that would interest your teens (or you), here's a link to learn more about Jill and her books.And be sure to check out Jill's resources for writers, particularly if you're a teen looking to publish your work.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Retelling Grimm

The Twelve Dancing, Zombie-Kiling Princesses is a fast, fun read that's a futuristic take on one of my favorite Grimm fairy tales, The Twelve Dancing Princesses. If you're not familiar with this particular Grimm story, you can check it out here. But while the original version contained no zombies, I wanted to give it a modern twist.

I had thought of subbing the novella around, but after finding this image, it was too perfect to pass on.

The Twelve Dancing Zombie-Killing Princesses is available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Here's the blurb:

Meilin’s never believed in fairy tales. Happy ever afters might have happened in the old days – before zombies. But this is 2089, and the zombies beyond City are nothing like the ones your parents warned you about.
When their father promises riches to the one who can rid their city of zombies, the twelve King sisters rush to develop a solution that won’t bankrupt Dad.
The war overseas left Will disillusioned, but fighting zombies at home is a cause he can embrace. Meilin’s another. Tough but sweet, she might make him believe in life again, and maybe even love, if she doesn’t kick his ass first.
When zombies kidnap her family, Meilin must rescue them. But can she and Will save them from the worst fate of all?

What's your favorite Grimm's Fairy Tale? Are you addicted to the TV series Grimm like me?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

You Are a Winner!

Part of the fun of belonging to this blog is being among so many talented authors. Everyone's always working on new projects, and the book sales and releases keep flowing in.

 Today it's my turn to celebrate another book release! The UXL Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes has arrived. All 5 volumes and 2200+ pages of it.

Just thinking about all the hours of research, writing, and editing that went into it exhausts me. But now it's done, and I can enjoy the finished product as I move ahead on another one -- this time fiction.

Having a book published is a high, but what of all those hours slogging through rough drafts, squeezing in time to write between other obligations, wanting to crumple up the pages of the current WIP, staring at a blank computer screen hoping the right words will come? All of that, too, is part of the joy of being a writer.

Writing successes are often few and far between. When they come, we rejoice, but we also need to remember that the frustrations mean we're struggling ahead, learning our craft. Olympic athletes aren't made in a day, or a week, or a month, or a year... Being a writer takes the same amount of dedication and hard work. They say it takes about 10,000 hours of practicing your craft to become a pro. How many hours have you put in?

If you're feeling discouraged, check out my post on Downtown YA, Feel Like Giving Up?, and McKenna Darby's post on the Hearts Through History blog, Struggling as a Writer? Congratulations!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Days of the Dead!

Hooray, it's release day! Death Is A Bitch is a dark, but fun, paranormal novella with humorous and romantic elements.

The wonderful folks at Decadent Publishing not only are releasing it today, but as a special treat, it's only 99 cents for the next five days! Not only that, but you can pick up my other Decadent dark paranormal, Dead to Rights, for only 99 cents too!

Pretty cool, huh? I hope it will tempt you enough to try them both. :)

These special prices are only for the Kindle store! For a limited time only, get Death is A Bitch for 99 cents 

and Dead to Rights for 99 cents. How can you pass up such a bargain? :)
And now, let the happy dance commence! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Halloween in July

Hey, why not? Aren't you tired of Christmas in July? It's time for another holiday. :) With a treat!

Today through Sunday, you can download my paranormal ghost story, In the Midnight Hour, free from Amazon.

If you don't own a Kindle, you can still read it on your computer using the free app. So don't miss out!

To get you in the mood, how about a ghost story? "Intelligent" hauntings, in which the spirits interact with the living, are reportedly rare, but not in Gettysburg. You can find dozens of accounts of such interactions - visitors recording Q and A sessions where they hear the dead person's responses only during playback, soldiers who appear quite alive walking up to park visitors and handing them objects (which later disappear, like the soldier), or soldiers speaking to people and then vanishing.

On the campus of Gettysburg College, a Civil War soldier still keeps his sentry duty - and sometimes points his rifle at passing students. He keeps the college security guards busy! Gives new meaning to "college spirit." You can read more about Gettysburg College's ghosts here.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Announcing the Forthcoming Publication of "Flight of the Hawk," by T. M. Crone

Gretchen Hawk lives in a world where artistic expression is banned, a world where dancer's legs are severed if they move to the wrong music, fingers amputated for playing the wrong note, hands chopped off if the brush stroke of the painter is not what the Sovereign commissions.  Consequences for the display of any type of artistic expression not conducive with the Sovereign's idea of a totalitarian society are severe, and Gretchen has the scars to prove it.

Unwilling to comply, Gretchen upholds her Guardians of Artisan Liberties ideals, and seeks out Shen Fouch, the last artisan who is still "whole." But when she finds him, she uncovers a deception that she and Fouch must fight together.

My short story, "Flight of the Hawk," will be published in SCHRODINGER'S MOUSE as a two part series. The first installment will be coming in October 2012, followed by "Flight of the Hawk's" dramatic conclusion in January 2013. It is a story about oppression and the miss use of political power, and one that is sure to live on in your mind long after you reach the end.

SCHRODINGER'S MOUSE is edited by Tim Rowe and Ann Stolinsky. Back issues can be found at in Kindle format.

Monday, July 2, 2012

My Gettysburg ghost story

I've finally let it loose! After more than a year and countless revisions, In the Midnight Hour is finally available on Amazon. Yay! Coincidentally, on the anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, where the story's set in present day. But with the ghost population outnumbering humans, they're bound to run into one another. Especially in my story!

I am crazy about this cover. And relieved - my approach to technical problems is to just keep clicking until it works, lol. I can't even count the number of times I clicked, but I'm glad I did.

The book video came out pretty well, too, don't you think?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Pleased To Be Included

I’m not much of a joiner. Over the years I’ve been asked to join different organizations. Many times people have tried to assimilate me into various pyramid scheme business plans, and I have always declined, usually afraid they were some secret front for the Illuminate. I think it would be funny if the dark overlords of the world funded their evil plans by selling soap suds.
When I was asked to join the Susquehanna Writers Blog I had a different reaction. I want to thank Cate Masters and all the other authors in the group for inviting me onboard. I’m not sure if they have a meeting with anonymous ballots or there is some top-secret headquarters command center where they make these decisions. If there is a top-secret headquarters I haven’t received a key yet. Just saying.
Over the years as I toiled away on my first novel, Shepherd’s Fall, now available everywhere as a trade paperback and e-book. Yes, I’m marketing my book, it is a good scary ghost story, so if you like creepy suspense…
Sorry, I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah. Toiling away at the keyboard is a solitary experience, only me and the world full of characters in my mind. It’s okay--they all know me there! As much fun as that part is--and believe me it is a blast--the other part of my writing journey has been meeting wonderful authors, many who have become dear friends.
So, although I’m not much of a joiner, when Cate sent me the e-mail I readily agreed. I am thrilled to be a part of this fine group of story tellers who do want to overtake the world of literature.