Tag Archives: mindy mcginnis

In A Handful Of Dust Book Giveaway and our technoligical plight

In the wake of Apple’s new watch unveiling, I got sucked into a world wide web of articles on technology. Eventually, my browsing led me to a story about autonomous driving and how easy it would be to hack the systems of these newest toys-in-the-making

Is anyone else troubled by the abundance of technology in our lives? Does anyone else pine for the pioneer days when you lived by your own doing and died by your own poor choices and laziness? Does anyone besides me think that having a lazy human behind the wheel of a vehicle is a bad idea?

I mean, seriously, one article boasted how the automatic system would hand over the controls to the driver if the car got into trouble it couldn’t handle alone, such as slamming on its brakes to avoid hitting a car in front of it. I don’t know about you, but braking seems like a pretty fundament part of driving. Needless to say, I see a huge flaw in this:

  • The driver relinquished control for a reason: he doesn’t want to pay attention to the mundane task of driving.
  • By applying logic, this means he is no longer an attentive driver of the vehicle, but rather a passive passenger sitting in front of the steering wheel.
  • Inattention requires time before reaction: said driver must be alerted to a problem via the car, he must then assess why the distress signal has been sent, then he must determine what needs to be done to avoid the peril of smashing into the car that just swerved into his lane.
  • By my calculation, way too much time has elapsed to allow the now-panicked driver to avoid the crash when Rosie the Robot could have simply stomped on the brakes solo.
  • Ie: autonomous cars seem MORE dangerous.
  • When you add up the time and financial costs of the wreck for rear-ending another car, Mr. Lazy Driver has wasted vast resources when he could have simply set his cruise and crooned to the radio–with hands on wheel, eyes on road and foot poised near the brake–during his morning commute.

Suddenly, autonomous driving doesn’t sound so convenient after all. Well, it never did… News flash: I like being in control of my own life. I don’t want 1984 to come to fruition. I like independent thinking and acting. I like making decisions and living with the consequences.

I don’t want to reside in a dystopian world unless it is one I’m reading about. Big Brother is for fiction. Or, at least, it used to be.

Throw in those hackers I was talking about, and I see chaos to the max. Pray tell, where do I sign up?

Not with Apple. I am not ready for personal technology that is controlled by private companies, can be shared with the government and stolen by hackers. I’ll keep my pulse to myself and get in my own car accidents, thank you.

I will also continue to read survival novels by author Mindy McGinnis, where nature is a force to be reckoned with, technology is limited. and human interactions are tenuous at best. In a Handful of Dust is due to hit  bookshelves on September 23, 2014. It’s the companion novel to her debut novel, Not a Drop to Drink.

Follow me to Mindy’s blog to save on your e-copy of Drink (a steal at $1.99) and to enter a chance to win one of five free copies of Dust!

What kinds of technology can’t you live with, and what can’t you live without? How do you feel about technology driven novels?

Curious minds want to know.

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Frivilous Friday: Swapping Seasons

I know it’s fall. Despite my confession on Wednesday that I’m unobservant, I do get that the leaves are changing and the temps are dropping. Fall is in the air. And soon, THE FALL will be on sale.

While the digital revolution has changed the way stories are shared, one author, editor and publisher holds on to the love of short stories and strives to share the magic of this unique art form. Short stories have all the same elements of a novel–characterization, plot, conflict, arc and setting–with far fewer words. A challenge for any writer, to be sure.

I am so pleased to have a short story accepted for publication in this second anthology by Elephant’s Bookshelf Press. The first was Annabelle, in SPRING FEVERS.

If you haven’t read this delightful anthology on relationships, I urge you to do so now. Quite a few of the authors found within the covers of SPRING FEVERS will be sharing another short story with readers of THE FALL.

In fact, Mindy McGinnis, whose short story First Kiss was the anchor story in SPRING FEVERS, has a debut young adult novel (Not a Drop to Drink) coming out in less than a year. Mindy is an amazing writer. Her storylines are unique, and her main characters are stong.  When I grow up, I want to be just like her–even though she’s way younger than me.

But that’s not all. Another writer friend of mine, RC Lewis, holds the anchor spot for THE FALL. Her YA novel was recently picked up by Hyperion. As in Disney Hyperion. As in, “Holy Wow!” Yeah, she’s that good.

Several more authors found within the pages of both anthologies are agented and working toward snagging that publishing contract like RC and Mindy have. In other words, there’s talent between the covers of these anthologies.

And that’s what I like about Matt Sinclair, founder and editor of Elephant’s Bookshelf Press. He’s not afraid to cultivate undiscovered talent and showcase it in a gripping, bed-side read. He’s currently working his way through the seasons by putting together a refreshing mix of short stories for lovers of all genres.

Each season has a theme with no limit to the voice of the piece (excluding erotica). The only requirement is outstanding story telling within the scope of the theme for readers of YA and above.

SPRING FEVERS is a book about relationships. But don’t think they’re all sappy love stories. They’re far from it. To get your free e-copy, head over to Amazon or Smashwords. If you’d like a paperback copy, please indulge. I have one on my nightstand and love reading a story or two every now and again.

THE FALL: TALES FROM THE APOCALYPSE (coming October 2012) is much more than zombies and war and the destruction of the Earth. It promises to be an anthology of hope, where relationships change and grow and life perseveres.

So, despite the chill in the air, or maybe because of it, you should switch seasons and cuddle up with a little SPRING FEVERS to warm your nights.

Hugs to all~

 

Pirates, Dogs and Books, Oh My!

We had a dog.  She was a good dog.  She loved hunting, slept most of the day and was fabulous with the kids.  Then said dog got old.  She no longer hunts, still sleeps most of the day and remains fabulous with the kids.

So, as many of you know, DH bought Dog Number Two.  She hunts, she sleeps (sometimes) and she’s great with kids.  She is a Labrador, after all, and labs are famous for these abilities.  It’s why they have a long history in Dear Hubby’s family.

But just because she’s a lab doesn’t mean she’s a replica of our first dog.  In fact, Kallie is a black lab and Bailey is buff.  While she doesn’t work out in the gym, her hair is very different than Kallie’s.  She sheds more in one day than Kallie does in an entire week.  (If I would have known that pre-purchase, I would have mutinied.)

She also drools more, barks more and jumps all the freakin’ time.  Her world is run by her belly, and therefore, so is ours.  Kallie used to leave food in her bowl for days, nibbling a kibble here and there.  Bailey starts whining by 5:15 in the morning.  Yet, she’s a bit endearing in that she plays constantly and will roll a ball back and forth with her humans.  Kallie has never fetched a ball in her life.

They’re the same, but different.  Slight variations of each other.  Each better at some things than the other, and each far more annoying in their own ways.  They have one purpose: fetch pheasants.  They are the same, but different.

And that’s the thing to remember about marketability in the publishing world.  Just because a genre is hot doesn’t mean we should all write Hot Genre Novels and they will sell.  In fact, it could mean the opposite.  By the time the shelves are filled with one genre, it is likely that agents and editors are no longer looking for those types of novels.

To even be considered for purchase, a novel must truly stand out and stand on its own merits.  It must be different enough from what has come to warrant hard-earned marketing dollars by a publishing company.  It must be unique–in tone, in voice, in style, not just in characterization or setting.  Yet, it can be done.

“Dystopian is out.”  Or so I’ve heard–we’ve all heard it.  Then my wonderfully, talented writing friend, Mindy McGinnis, sold her dystop in a majorly good deal.  This tells me that dystopian–as a gravy train genre–may be heading through the tunnel and out of town, but stellar dystopian novels are alive and kickin’.

It also gives me hope, because I have a chapter book manuscript I love dearly.  (My agent loves it, too, so I know I’m not completely biased.)  And while Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean are hogging the seven seas, I believe the pirate ship hasn’t sailed altogether.  I believe that somewhere in the vast ocean of publishing is a home port with room for a tiny vessel carrying my beloved pirate family.  I believe that my tone, style and voice, along with my characters and plot, are truly unique and not just a slight variation of what’s already out there.

I will never give up on this project, but I’m smart enough to know I can’t sail aimlessly in saturated waters.  It’s why I write nearly every day.  It’s why I have nearly a dozen completed manuscripts–some ready for submission and some not quite.  It’s why I keep my eye on the hunt and why I’m not afraid to buy a new dog.

How about you, dear writers, do you chase publishing trends or stay well away from hot markets?  Why or why not?  Do you let the fate of one novel dictate the fate of all your novels?  How and why? 

As a reader, what do you believe is more important in setting a novel apart from the masses already lining the book store shelves: a unique voice, a unique story idea or unique characters?  Do you read exclusively within specific genres?  If so, does this ever get tiresome?  Do the stories run together after a while?  What truly sets one novel apart from another?

Curious minds want to know.

Writing Comfortably

Because this pic is the bomb…

Seriously, are you this comfortable in your writing life?  When someone asks, do you proudly answer: I’m a writer?  If so, how did you reach this point of complete openness?  If not, does admitting that you write fiction make you feel vulnerable and exposed? 

What steps have you taken to write comfortably?

Fellow blogger, AQCer, crit partner and good friend, Mindy McGinnis, provides pat answers to help you navigate the “So, what do you do?” question.

Enjoy!