Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Writing judges needed

The South Central Pennsylvania Scholastic Writing Awards needs judges for The Scholastic Writing Awards, the nation’s largest, longest running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teenagers. This opportunity is opened to students in grades 7th through 12th living in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lebanon, Perry, and York.

Judging will take place from January 8th until the end of the 27th. The process will be quite flexible as the judging is done online and can be completed as your schedule allows.

By participating as a judge, you will be enriching the lives of hundreds of ambitious young writers from South Central Pennsylvania.

If you're interested or have questions, please contact Brock Shelley, Affiliate Director of the South Central Pennsylvania Scholastic Writing Awards, at bshelley@connectionsacademy.com

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"River Path," a short story by T. M. Crone

Announcing the publication of my short story "River Path."

What do all avid bike riders have in common? The love of the road and the solitude that comes along with the long miles. Nothing is better than the feel of the wind caressing your face, or the smooth shift of the gears during a downhill run. And every once and a while you find the perfect path.

Ah, solitude. But sometimes the path is more than you bargain for and you have trouble finding your way home. That's what happens to Hanna Blake. Twenty years and counting and her husband James is still waiting for her.

"River Path" can be found in the inaugural issue of Phobos Magazine, Phobos One: Zugzwang, at amazon.com  edited by Robert Corry, Luke St. Germaine, and Adam Guy Halterman. It is currently available in Kindle format at a special price with book form coming out soon!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Goldilocks Goes to the Library

I retired a year and a half ago, but it didn't stick. Although I never expected to be fully retired quite this early, the speed at which new pursuits have taken over my life has left me a little breathless. I thought I'd have lots of time to write -- to revive my freelancing, work on all those works-in-progress that had  become stalled for lack of time and attention -- but many days, I find myself back in the "too much to write, not enough time" boat that was sinking when I worked full-time.

This new version of an old state of affairs sometimes relegates writing to the nooks and crannies of my day. Fortunately, I learned how to use that approach successfully over the last decade, so although it's disappointing, it's not unworkable.

And so it was that I found myself in the college library on Friday morning. I had made plans to meet a student and after our business was complete, I had about an hour before my next appointment. Anticipating this (as all good writers on the run do), I had tucked hard copies of the chapters I was working on into my bag. Now all that remained was to find a place to work.

I love settling into a comfy chair and digging into the pages, but on Friday, I felt a little like Goldilocks. The same chairs that were typically unoccupied when I stopped in after class on Tuesdays and Thursdays were occupied by students  -- some alone, some in groups and one asleep, stretched out on a sofa on the second floor. There were still chairs available in these groupings, and while I wouldn't have hesitated to sit right down if I'd been at Starbucks, I felt a little creepy doing so as a fifty-two-year old adjunct in a library full of college students. These chairs were too full, so I moved on.

There were chairs available in the lobby, but in addition to the noise factor (minimal though it was in a library), these chairs were placed beside heating vents pumping out warm air. After spending 30 minutes or so traipsing around campus, the last thing this middle-aged woman needed was hot air blowing down her neck. These chairs were too hot, so I moved on.

I finally landed at a study carrel in the quiet zone. Wait. There was a quiet zone? Well, of course there was -- I was in a library! Although I hadn't used a study carrel in more than 30 years, I needed a quiet place to work, and this was what was available, so I took it. Oddly enough, this chair was just right.

I'd like to conclude by saying that I got a pile of work done, but between the time it took to settle into a work space, my upcoming appointment and the fact that my daughter and I ended up in a text discussion (with my phone on silent, of course -- I was in the quiet zone after all), there was more ambiance than work involved in my trip to the library.

But I've discovered a new work space, one that a friend in my writers' group swears by. And I think perhaps it's time I took better advantage of it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Celebrate the Book this Saturday

On Saturday, Oct. 19th, I'll be one of many authors participating in the Celebrate the Book event in Carlisle, sponsored by Bosler Library.

This year the venue has changed to St. Patrick's School at 85 Marsh Drive, in Carlisle, and is a one-day event from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Click here for directions.

Bestselling authors Maria V. Snyder and Jennifer Armentrout are scheduled to attend, with Dr. Eben Alexander as this year's featured author. Sunbury Press, which this summer released my collection of short stories, Wild Life, is among attending publishers. You can view the entire list here. And check out the schedule and more at Celebrate the Book's site.

I hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Writing Cross-Training

I got to write yesterday. That shouldn't sound like a big deal since I am, after all, a writer, but since I began the new adventure known as college level teaching, I've been so immersed in planning and teaching lessons that I've been lucky to post a blog, let alone work on a writing project.

But yesterday, I got to focus my attention on writing. Granted, it was the business end (queries and proposals), but I was struck by how easy they were to do after so much time away.

But how could this be? I haven't been writing.

In adult education classes, I teach beginning writers that any writing counts. Although it's a stretch to consider a grocery list a writing project, getting any thought out of your head and onto the page is good practice. Even though I haven't been working on the writing projects I'd like to be concentrating on, I have been blogging and critiquing and creating lessons and assignments. Apparently, that has kept my writing muscles better toned than I believed it could.

When non-bloggers ask me the inevitable time management question ("Doesn't blogging take time away from your writing time?"), I respond that that's indeed a down side. But blogging also keeps me writing regularly, forces me to string together coherent thoughts, helps me toss aside perfectionism and enables me to put thousands of words on the screen that might otherwise have remained trapped in my head -- a dark and scary place if ever there was one.

And apparently, all of that non-writing writing makes it easier to access the necessary skills when I need them for the real business of writing. A wonderful sense of possibility flooded from that small beginning yesterday, igniting enthusiasm for these projects that I hope will nudge me into finding small pockets of time to keep at it, so I don't allow other responsibilities to keep me away from my writing for so long. Even better, the enthusiasm overrode any lingering doubts that too much time away from writing would mean that my skills had begun to atrophy, and that I wouldn't remember how to do it any more.

Apparently it's like riding a bike. And I don't even have to go outside to do it.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Real-life heroes and heroines

My husband’s addiction to The History Channel can be a good or bad thing. Bad when it’s a seeming replay of war and all its related weapons (in much too much gory detail) but good when it sparks a story idea. Some time ago, a feature about the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco caught both our attentions.

Like most story ideas, it gelled in my brain awhile, niggling at me to learn more. Being the research addict I am, I trolled the Web and found a treasure trove of stories waiting to be told. Stories of real-life heroes and heroines who overcame immense odds to rebuild the city after its worst tragedy to date.

Before the great quake, San Francisco was one hot city. The ninth largest in the U.S., it was home to 400,000 people, and rife with crime, prostitution, opium dives and most any vice you can imagine, mostly concentrated in the Barbary District. There, the city’s Vice Squad – for a price, of course – turned a blind eye to the scandalous dance halls, peep shows and whorehouses. More tame fun awaited at the Chutes and Zoo, an amusement park, or the Golden Gate Donkey Rides, where children could ride in goat carts or on donkeys.

Ragtime music was in its heyday, and Enrico Caruso enjoyed immense popularity – he was actually in town during the quake, having performed the night before at the Grand Operahouse.

While Enrico survived the earthquake, not much else in the city did. The Richter Scale had not yet been invented, but geologists estimate the quake to be equal to 7.8, and more than 270 miles of the San Andreas Fault ruptured. More than 3000 people lost their lives, either during the quake or in the resulting fires that destroyed what the quake had left.

The Golden Gate Bridge had not yet been constructed, so residents used the ferry to get back and forth to outlying islands. Trying to crowd onto that ferry to escape the devasation, more lost their lives.

How the survivors managed to carry on, I don’t know. But they did, in an incredible, roll-up-your-sleeves and get-down-to-business way. After President Teddy Roosevelt sent the military with wagonloads of rations, people set up tent cities, food lines and began cleanup efforts. Businesses reopened within days, as shopkeepers were determined to rebuild. Again, every single story told of actual heroes, many who never found recognition for their amazing courage.

In real life, such disaster is heartwrenching. In fiction, it’s fodder for a great story, especially when it has such a hopeful aftermath. I loved placing my heroine and hero in these circumstances. Already down and out, Norah Hawkins and Gerard “Mac” MacKenzie are looking for a better life in San Francisco. Do they find it? Well, you’ll have to read the story to find out. :)

And as of today, you can! It's release day for my historical novella Betting It All! Woot! :)

Here’s the blurb:
Norah Hawkins wants a new life as far from her old one as possible, but where can she ever find that chance? When a letter arrives promising her the deed to property in San Francisco, Norah packs her bags and flees the broken shards of her troubled past.
With its anything-goes atmosphere, 1906 San Francisco suits Irishman Gerard MacKenzie just fine. He loves tending bar in Norah’s saloon, and verbally sparring with the shrewd businesswoman for more privileges and work. Her beauty, wit and sass make his blood boil with need.
But disaster looms over their promising new lives when a terrible earthquake buries their dreams and threatens to shatter their future. Norah and Mac must rebuild their lives from the ruins and they’ll need each other more than ever, but can their ties to each other save them or tear them apart? 

Available from:

About Cate

Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.
Cate loves to hear from readers! Email her at: cate.masters@gmail.com

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Friday, August 2, 2013

Book birthday party on Saturday, Aug. 3

Lisa's post below was a great lead-in for the Facebook party I planned for tomorrow. :) Thanks Lisa!

Hard to believe it, but my paranormal, Death Is A Bitch, was published one year ago tomorrow. To celebrate, I'm throwing a Facebook party. You're invited!

Even though my Death isn't a scary skeleton in a hood carrying a scythe, they have such cute stuff with skeleton designs, I couldn't resist grabbing a few for giveaways.

One party attendee each who correctly answers trivia about Death and her cohorts will receive these super cute items:

Change purse (sorry to make you tilt your head lol)

Socks - girls' size up to 10, so would fit a small woman's foot :)


Book swag - 1 oversized magnet and bookmarks

And 1 ebook of Death Is A Bitch! This giveaway is international. Those shown above are U.S. only, sorry.

Even if you don't want them for yourself (or already have a copy of Death Is A Bitch, in which case thank you very much!), it's never too early to stock up on presents for Christmas. :)

Sign up for Saturday's event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/417270428391691/
and invite your friends to do the same! Don't miss out on a chance to party with Death.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Partying on Facebook

Last night, I attended a Facebook Book Launch Party for Michelle Weidenbenner's debut novel, Cache a Predator. I'd never been to an event like this before, and I had no idea what to expect.

Michelle had hired the Release Day Diva to put the party together for her and these two ladies made quite a team. Michelle was the hostess, chatting with her guests and sparking conversation, and Jessi (Release Day Diva) was the party planner who kept things moving.

And move they did! It was a four-hour event, and my circumstances dictated that I pop in and out, but even then it was easy to follow what was going on. During those four hours, Michelle gave away 12 prizes, ranging from gift certificates to a signed copy and an opportunity to be a character in her next book. Guests interacted a la Facebook, answering questions, commenting on posts and liking comments posted by other attendees. It didn't matter in the least that guests didn't all know each other. There was no awkwardness, and the atmosphere was festive and celebratory.

Pretty cool way to launch a book.

As authors, we wear many hats, something I've written about on this blog before. Many of us are introverts and find it anywhere from uncomfortable to downright difficult to blow our own horns and promote our own work. But in this rapid, ever-changing publishing climate, she who does not publicize is lost. Dead in the water, her book adrift in a sea of other works.

That was what I found so intriguing about this Facebook Book Launch. It was a book launch without the BUY MY BOOK! frenzy that can turn off both authors and potential readers. It was fun.

Admittedly, it could have been an entirely different scenario in the hands of a loudly self-promoting author. But in the hands of these two ladies, it was a wonderful experience. So wonderful, in fact, that I contacted Jessi and asked for her information because when my book comes out later this year, you can bet I want her in my corner.

Thanks, ladies. Who says Facebook can't be fun?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Muse lightning

I've always liked to joke that my muse has ADD. She never lets me finish one project before tossing more story ideas at me. Sometimes, the stories come out of the blue. Muse lightning. The idea strikes fast, and I have to capture it before it disappears.

Wild Life was like that. The news accounts of the private zoo owner in Ohio committing suicide in 2011 caught my attention - and my muse's. According to the online articles I read, a few animals escaped before authorities could reach the zoo, but most hovered near the fence, afraid and confused. Imminent nightfall forced the hard decision not to risk use of tranquilizer, but to shoot to kill. One person described this real-life tragedy as “Noah’s ark wrecked.” But what if the opposite had occurred, and most of the animals had escaped to invade the town?

In Wild Life, the fictional residents of Tarryville, Ohio, find out. As each person comes face to face with an exotic animal, hidden truths are revealed, and each likewise comes face to face with the harsh reality of their own lives. Perspectives, and priorities, can alter in an instant during unexpected events.

Written under my mainstream pen name of C.A. Masterson, Wild Life releases today from Sunbury Press.

Learn more about my mainstream, literary and speculative fiction at http://paintingfirewithwords.blogspot.com/

Friday, July 19, 2013

One week from today!

Every release day is exciting! Bringing a new story into the world is a bit of a nail biting experience, but also a thrill. Decadent Publishing moved up the release date from Aug. 2 to July 26 for Cinderella Dreams!

This short story was actually one of my first to get published with The Wild Rose Press, back in 2009. The rights returned to me, and I revised it with a time travel twist for Decadent Publishing's 1Night Stand series. A very popular series, perhaps because Madame Evangeline, the matchmaker, is so mysterious. She's arranged dates as early as the 1800s, and in this story, helps my heroine, Gen Fuller, return to her past. One date with "the one who got away" - but it's up to Gen to make sure she gets her happy ending.

I hope you'll take a trip back in time with her! Watch my blog for release details: http://catemasters.blogspot.com