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Preview: Queen of Convolution

Author Caprice Hokstad





Updated: 2017-04-19T02:24:02.878-07:00

 



Chuck vs. The Lost Memories

2016-04-04T19:58:02.511-07:00


Chuck vs. The Lost Memories is a hypothetical sixth season opener for the TV series "Chuck", starting from the moment season five ended. This is novel-length fan fiction, free to read. If you're not familiar with Chuck, I highly recommend it. All five seasons are on Netflix. Watch those first, then go read my attempt at continuation by clicking HERE.



Hammer's Payback

2014-04-28T12:48:41.889-07:00

Marvel doesn't want this, so I put it out for free. Not my best work ever, but not a bad little story either. Enjoy.


Ivan Vanko ruined the Stark Expo. The world blamed Justin Hammer and made him pay. Hammer blamed Virginia Potts and Anthony Stark. Now he's on a mission to get his payback.

While Hammer is serving his 12 year sentence in a minimum security facility, a mysterious benefactor appears with an offer to break him out. The price: deliver Iron Man. Hammer kidnaps Pepper and demands the Mark V armor as ransom.

This story is set after Iron Man 2, but BEFORE Avengers. Canon compliant with Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Warning: male rape is mentioned as a reality in prison, but the act is NOT described. Also adult language. Click here to read.



Three Little Pigs Get an Extreme Home Makeover

2014-07-31T14:10:50.728-07:00


I have all kinds of links for you.

Want to see the synopsis?
Want to buy it in Kindle?
Want a paperback that comes with a free Kindle version? (also free shipping if you spend $35 or have Prime membership)
Want a paperback, but don't intend to spend $35, don't have Prime, and would rather the author got the profit instead of Amazon?
Want a FREE sample (includes one complete story and one illustration) This link takes you straight to the sample in IE, but in other browsers, you may have to click on the book cover to get the sample.

Want a review copy? EMAIL me.



3 Little Pigs Get an Extreme Home Makeover

2013-09-12T13:53:42.485-07:00

Yes, I have written another book. It's not like anything else I have previously published. It is a children's book, but it's not as girly as Princess Marina. It's a modern, humorous "twist" on familiar fairy tales. The stories are written and I am now waiting for the illustrator to do his magic. As you can see if you click that link, he's in high demand and there's a waiting list. He will be doing one illustration for each story. The best illustration will also be used for the cover and then that picture's story title will be the basis of the book title, like so: "Featured Story and other Modern Mashups". This is the synopsis for the Amazon page or the back cover (if I do paperback):


Three Little Pigs Get an Extreme Home Makeover -- Three pigs build houses in Florida. Hurricane Wolf huffs and puffs and blows two houses down. The oldest pig calls Ty Piggington of the Sty and Garden Network to help them rebuild.

The Flaxen-haired Freeloader -- After breaking and entering, stealing food, and damaging furniture belonging to an upstanding family of bears, Goldilocks must wash dishes and mop floors as restitution.

Don’t Eat the House! -- If an old blind hermit-hag offers to let little German children eat her house during a famine, there's a really good chance it's a trap.

Jack and the Genetically Modified Beanstalk -- Jack sells the family cow for some "advanced" hybrid beans.

The Plaid Pipers of Hamelin Elementary -- A classroom science experiment gets out of hand and rats take over the school. The principal must find a humane way to drive out the rats because everyone knows PETA is just one letter away from PTA.

It's Always a Bad Hair Day -- Having long hair is not all it's cracked up to be. Tired of being used as a ladder, Rapunzel escapes from the tower, cuts her hair, and lives life on her own terms.

So, what do you think about this ebook concept? I will check CreateSpace, but I have a feeling a full-color paperback will be so expensive that it won't sell, but I'll probably put it out there anyway.



The Adventures of Princess Marina the Mermaid

2012-11-17T22:32:17.649-08:00

Guess what? I wrote a mermaid book! Mermaids are supposed to be "the next big thing" and frankly, this is the first popular trend I have ever come close to understanding. Vampires, werewolves, zombies? Nope, I don't get it. Dragons and unicorns? Not a clue. But I DO get mermaids. I mean, I would LOVE to be able to swim fast and never come up for air. They live in a beautiful exotic place and they get to eat seafood all the time. I LOVE mermaids!

So anyway, this is a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book for girls, ages 4-10, only for Kindle. Ebooks lend themselves perfectly to the multiple story branches. With the Kindle Fire and iPad being so popular, color eBooks are finally starting to sell, and children's ebooks are a growing market. If ever there was a chance for me to get in on a trend, this is it.

I'm pretty new at writing for children and I expect I have a lot to learn, but I'm jumping in to see if I sink or swim.

In honor of the new book's launch, The Adventures of Princess Marina will be absolutely FREE on Thanksgiving Eve, Thanksgiving, and Black Friday (Nov. 21-23). Even if you don't have a little girl, would you consider downloading the book for free and leaving an honest review? The book is VERY short and the story turns out differently every time you read it. Even if you don't have a Kindle, you can read Kindle books on lots of devices, including any device you can use to read this blog post. The Kindle Cloud Reader and many of the apps will show the interior pictures in full color. The pictures are grayscale on the older Kindle devices (non-Fire).


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Why You Don't Need a Kindle to Read Kindle Books

2012-11-19T15:41:11.969-08:00

Every time I have a book sale, I hear the same complaint: But I don’t have a Kindle (or nook or whatever)! First off, I should tell you why all my sales and promotions involve solely eBooks:1) I do NOT have any control whatsoever in the selling price of printed books. They are already as cheap as they can get and both I and my publisher hardly make anything at all even when they are not on special. The VENDOR makes most of the money, followed by the printer. Paper and binding and ink aren’t free, no matter what anyone tells you. If you see a paperback sale on Amazon, that is Amazon “magnanimously” waiving a portion of its already-bloated profit. They do that at THEIR whim and they don’t even notify me or my publisher so we can advertise it. The few times I have noticed one of these sales and spread the word, the sale ends as soon as one person takes advantage and then I look like a fool for sending people to a sale that doesn’t exist.2) There is no mechanism for changing the price of paperbacks once the book is published. Even if my publisher and I decided to forego every cent of our meager cut in order to promote the book for a short period, it cannot be done without producing a REVISION that would actually put us in the hole. It is just logistically impossible. When I give away a paperback as promotion, I do so AT A LOSS. I still have to BUY the books myself and while they may cost a little less than what you pay, they are not free by any stretch of the imagination. While I do not share the sentiment, I can accept that some people still like the smell of paperbacks or the tactile experience they offer. If you still like dead tree books and are willing to pay distributors for the privilege of selling them to you and the pulp manufacturers so they can plant more trees (yes, they ARE sustainable) then more power to you. I can’t help you on the price, but I will make them available.3) Ebooks are completely different. I have much more control over the price and can change it any time of day or night, with few restrictions. I make more than Amazon (or any other vendor) on each sale and there is no middleman or materials cost involved. Ebooks are INFINITELY better for authors. I also happen to think ebooks are better for READERS, too, but that is another story.Okay, so now you know why all my promotions are, of necessity, always on eBooks. Before I tell you how to bypass eReaders, I should probably mention that the dedicated devices are WONDERFUL! I LOVE my Kindle and I know others who love their Nooks. They are lighter than most books and you can carry an entire library on them. The vendor who sells the device keeps your book order history so even if you lose or break the device, your library is safe forever. They are easier to use. It takes one thumb to turn a page and you have complete control over the font size. No longer need to buy special "large print editions" or make sure you always have reading glasses. You can find them used on eBay at really reasonable prices. Please don’t construe anything that follows as a counter-endorsement of Kindle. This is for those who cannot afford one or don’t want a dedicated device.But I digress. Let’s get to the HOW.1) You can read Kindle books on TONS of OTHER devices. Amazon offers FREE apps for every conceivable piece of electronics you could possibly read on. Whatever device you’re using to read this blog post can also be used to read books. Click here to find apps for iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android, Windows phones, PCs, Macs, and more. 2) You can read a Kindle book on a Nook or other proprietary reader *IF* the book is not DRM protected. My books are all DRM-free, which means you are perfectly welcome to take the Kindle file and CONVERT it to another type to suit the device. So if you buy (or download for free) my book in Kindle form, you can use one of many FREE converter programs to convert the mobi file to epub, and [...]



The PLUG

2012-12-19T21:51:46.360-08:00



Blood and Brine is finally out in paperback!

Please go buy a copy so I can put a teaspoon of gasoline in my car.

Get an eBook and I can buy a whole cup of gas!

[CLICK HERE]
for a huge array of buying options or

[READ FREE CHAPTERS]



Devil's Hit List by Frank Creed

2012-10-08T20:09:30.917-07:00

Today we have another installment in the Splashdown Book Tour series. Please welcome Frank Creed, author of Flashpoint, War of Attrition, and Devil's Hit List. Frank is sharing an excerpt from his newest release (Devil's Hit List) with us today. Here it is:The busy street went through a neighborhood of older two-story run-down houses and neglected landscaping. “We’re here anyway.” I parked at the curb near a street corner and opened my door, outside which stood a saint wearing an L. L. Bean duster.The symp who donated the coats to the BoC sure made it easy to recognize each other. Too easy. I had to wonder if the garments were already part of our FBT profile.I greeted the man, “Howzit, G?”The hefty guy with sandy hair lowered his comshades to reveal gold eyes. “S’awight. You bring me a package?”“I sure did.” Toad got out the passenger side and e-girl behind him. “Here he is. Take good care of him, will’ya?”“Good care. You keep it tight, Kid.”“Yeah, tight.”Toad came around the truck and shook my hand. “It’s been my pleasure workin’ with the famous Calamity Kid.”“His will, Toad, and His glory.” They turned to leave and I walked to the rear of the truck.e-girl had already opened the cap, the tailgate, and the her case. “It’s in this one.” She passed her hand slowly over the circuit boards. She slowed, brushing each with her fingertips, and then plucked one out. “Got it. Let’s go.”We hopped in the truck’s cab, but I did not start the engine.She rolled her eyes. “I just want to get back home and out of camera view. Now what are we doing?”“Waiting for Toad to get out of sight.” I watched his back as he and G walked down the street.“Oh come on already!”“I don’t like the idea of driving back across the ’Plex in such a recognizable truck right after pulling a job on a MegaCorp like Ash. Can I borrow one of your graffiti markers?”She handed me her whole set. I chose dark blue and scribbled on the back of one of Toad’s junk mail envelopes and spoke as I wrote. “The Latin…Kings are…wimps.”e-girl just looked at me as I reached around the windshield and stuck the note under a wiper blade. I left all the truck doors open, the keys in the ignition, and began walking down the sidewalk in the opposite direction of Toad and G’s exit. My sister tagged along.I explained myself as we headed for a bus stop. “The Latin Kings are the local street gang here in North Aurora, and one of Chicago’s largest. By the time anyone follows us here on the streetlight cams, that truck and everything inside it will be stripped down and scavenged for spare parts.”I have read all three of Frank's Underground books. You can find my reviews for the first two titles in my blog archives and on Amazon. I haven't had a chance to read the final draft of DHL yet, but it was pretty awesome in the first draft. Word of warning: Frank's books are blatantly Christian (although quite unorthodox).[Frank's Website] . [Frank's Blog][Buy Flashpoint] . [Buy War of Attrition] . [Buy Devil's Hit List]Note: These are affiliate links.Blog Tour Sites:[R. L. Copple] . [Kat Heckenbach] . [Diane M. Graham][Travis Perry] . [Paul Baines] . [Keven Newsome][Robynn Tolbert] . [Jennifer Rogers] . [Fred Warren][Ryan Grabow] . [Greg Mitchell] . [Grace Bridges] [...]



Toch Island Chronicles by Kat Heckenbach

2012-09-11T00:01:00.226-07:00

Today we have another installment in the Splashdown Book Tour series. Please welcome Kat Heckenbach, author of Finding Angel and Seeking Unseen. She also did cover drawings for all three of my books. She's doing a self-interview for us today. Welcome, Kat! Q. What part of the writing process do you find the most challenging?A. Honestly, the chaos surrounding finding time and peace/quiet to write. I need order. I often feel like Kermit the Frog backstage at the Muppet Show, trying to rein in the chaos around me so I can get the show on the road. I’ve got kids to homeschool, dogs to let in and out (and in and out), the TV blaring the latest Wii game in progress in the background, the “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy,” and all the things that go along with running a household. But for me to be able to focus, all that has to either be taken care of or somehow turned into background noise. Doesn’t always work. Also, I’m someone who doesn’t shift gears well—I work much better if I have blocks of time to do things and tackle one project at a time. Doing a little of this and a little of that doesn’t generally work well for me. Therefore, setting aside an hour or so a day to write, or writing a certain number of words a day, doesn’t work either. By the time I’ve gotten myself in the zone to write, the hour has passed or the quiet has degraded to chaos again. Q. Which part of the writing process is the most fun for you?A. Figuring out how I’m going to make a scene fit in, or work in a necessary detail, or link two story arcs together. The weaving, the placing of the puzzle pieces. I suppose you might call this plotting, but it’s not just working out the events of the story. It’s figuring out how to make the insignificant significant. One reviewer said this about a plot element in Finding Angel: “There are other treats abundantly throughout the book, including one so magnificently clever and totally awesome that I'll not spoil it for you. I will say when I first read it I shouted "Oh! WELL DONE!!! How cool!!!" right out loud. For that one moment alone the book is worth your time.” That statement made my heart flip! That’s exactly what I mean—the clever little twist, the thing you think at first will be one thing, or will be nothing at all, and then, wham, it becomes a major twist in the story or a link between two places/things/people in the book. I love finding those things and making the connections—and I love finding out that others get a kick out of the results! Kat Heckenbach grew up in the small town of Riverview, Florida, where she spent most of her time either drawing or sitting in her "reading tree" with her nose buried in a fantasy novel...except for the hours pretending her back yard was an enchanted forest that could only be reached through the secret passage in her closet... She never could give up on the idea that maybe she really was magic, mistakenly placed in a world not her own...but as the years passed, and no elves or fairies carted her away...she realized she was just going to have to create the life of her fantasies. Now she shares that life with her husband and two kids. Ok, maybe "share" isn't the right word--more like lives that life in her writing and tries her best to be normal the rest of the time... Kat is a graduate of the University of Tampa, Magna Cum Laude, B.S. in Biology. She spent several years teaching, but never in a traditional classroom—everything from Art to Algebra II—and now homeschools her children.[Kat's Website] . [Kat's Blog] [Buy Finding Angel on Amazon] . [Buy Seeking Unseen on Amazon]Note: These are affiliate links.Blog Tour Sites:[R. L. Copple] . [Kat Heckenbach] . [Diane M. Graham][Travis Perry] . [Paul Baines] . [Keven Newsome][Robynn Tolbert] . [Frank Creed] . [Fred Warren][Ryan Grabow] . [Greg Mitchell] . [...]



Faith Awakened by Grace Bridges

2012-08-15T23:20:10.892-07:00

Today we have another installment in the Splashdown Book Tour series. Please welcome Grace Bridges, who is not only the author of today's selection, but my publisher, so be nice. :) Have you ever wondered if your life is designed? Coincidences, déjà vu, fate, God, what does it all mean? Have you ever wished you could go back and do things differently? If you could design your own virtual world to live in, what would it look like? A computer technician gets more than she bargains for when she plunges herself and her companions into virtual-reality cryogenic stasis to escape a raging virus. Read endorsements for Faith Awakened or click here to read the first chapters (more than the small sample below). The Wedding Night that Wasn’t... an excerpt from Faith Awakened:We climbed to the porch and sat there looking over the vast ocean. Hours passed, and the endless water seemed to grow even bigger in the gently fading light of day. We sat side by side, and I leaned into Peter’s warmth, enjoying him and the heady aroma of love. We sat like that for a long time, and eventually I climbed onto his lap, encircled his shoulders in my arms, and laid my face against his. Electricity charged through me at his nearness, and at the knowledge that we could now take the gift we so desired and give of ourselves in this night. Indeed, I would have given myself to him there and then on the porch if we hadn’t been disturbed by the now-familiar rumble of a motor. We disentangled ourselves, suddenly cold with fear. Feet ran up the steps to where we whiled away the evening, and we recognised Noah. His face was filled with horror, and he stuttered so badly we could barely understand him.“Lucas—he came back!” Peter and I glanced at each other. “He didn’t die?”“He did! He died just now!” He breathed, but it was more like a sob. “Toni thought he died weeks ago, that day she came back to us, right?”I nodded. “She was wrong?”“Lucas was taking a helluva long time to die anyway. I think she freaked when he passed out that morning.” I could feel Peter’s breaths coming faster, feel the frustration coiled within him. A pang of regret enclosed my own heart. Our wedding night. It ends like this. Find Grace:[Blog] . [Facebook] . [Pinterest] [Buy Faith Awakened on Amazon] Blog Tour Sites: [R. L. Copple] . [Kat Heckenbach] . [Diane M. Graham][Travis Perry] . [Paul Baines] . [Keven Newsome][Robynn Tolbert] . [Frank Creed] . [Fred Warren][Ryan Grabow] . [Greg Mitchell][...]



Rift Jump by Greg Mitchell

2012-07-11T22:21:26.176-07:00

Rift Jump by Greg MitchellThe day Michael Morrison died was the day his life began. A sinister threat is growing in the void between realities, and Michael has been recruited to stop it. Ripped from his own violent life, he is sent rift jumping to other worlds seeking out the agents of the Dark and putting them to an end by any means necessary. The love of his life, Sara, joins him as he battles Civil War space ships, sea serpents, superpowered humans, and even his own duplicate from a parallel timeline.But the darkness he fights is growing within him too, calling him to the same destiny as every other Michael from every other world. If he is to change his fate, he must learn to love, to forgive, to trust, and to let the man in the Stetson guide him to become the warrior of the Light he was always meant to be.Mini-interview with the author, Greg MitchellBefore I begin, I should mention I have not yet read Rift Jump.Q. What genre would classify your new novel Rift Jump?A. Yikes. Tough. It’s a gumbo of every genre, I think. As a writer, I used to get bored really easy and wanted some kind of “gimmick”, if you will, that would allow me to take the same character through any number of genres: Detective, super-hero, alien invasion, thriller, horror, romance, western, whatever. In Rift Jump, our main man Michael Morrison travels to parallel realities and gets into all kinds of situations. It’s really a free-for-all in terms of genre. But, by the very fact we’re dealing with evading some Great Evil lurking in the darkness in between the planes of reality, it’s very much rooted in a sci-fi/horror mold. I think my publisher and I have officially listed it as “paranormal romance”.Ack! Paranormal romance? Like Twilight?Sure! In a lot of ways, Twilight is responsible for Rift Jump landing in your hands. I kid thee not. See, even though we’ve got all these wild creatures and strange worlds in Rift Jump, at its heart it’s a teenage love story between hardened extra-dimensional crime fighter Michael Morrison and shy, innocent Sara Theresea. I first started writing this couple in high school, so naturally my concept of what constituted a “good, healthy relationship” was horribly skewed. As the years went by, Rift Jump was relegated to my desk drawer where all my embarrassing high school stories lived, but I started getting this inkling that I wanted to do something with it. Wanted to revamp it and write it “for real”. I wasn’t completely sold on the idea, though. Then, me and my wife Meghan were watching the first Twilight movie for the heck of it, and I marveled at how morbid this “love” story was. It was so skewed, I had to start laughing and I thought, “Hey! Maybe the world is ready for Rift Jump and all of its immature teenage love obsessed mentality!” Rest assured, though, the characters in Rift Jump do grow and grow up, little by little. We can’t all stay co-dependent moody stalkers forever ;) Well... I guess we can, but we go to jail for it.Visit Greg Mitchell at:His website FacebookTwitterOrder Rift Jump on Amazon.Visit these other Splashdown authors on theBlog Tour for Rift Jump by Greg Mitchell:Grace BridgesFred WarrenP. A. Baines Travis PerryR. L. Copple Keven Newsome Kat HeckenbachDiane M. GrahamRobynn Tolbert Frank Creed [...]



Blog Tour Disclaimer

2012-07-09T22:18:31.156-07:00

Starting Wednesday, I'm going to be doing something a little different here about once a month. My publisher, Splashdown Books, is asking all Splashdown authors to help publicize all Splashdown releases. In return, my fellow authors will be doing this for me and my books. It's kind of a "You scratch my back; I'll scratch yours" kinda deal. So that means I will be posting mini interviews, excerpts, book trailers, and other promotional type stuff, very often for books I have not read and may not even personally be interested in. Please know that my posts do NOT constitute endorsement of every title.

However, with that said, I should also mention that Splashdown does work hard to publish quality speculative fiction. All Splashdown titles are properly edited and professionally formatted and produced. Nearly all the authors provide free samples, either on their own websites or on Amazon or Smashwords. This is to assure you that the writing is quality and while you may not like every type of story Splashdown puts out (it's quite an eclectic variety) you won't need to worry about there being tons of typos or bad grammar. Splashdown titles are as good as anything you find on bookstore shelves.

If you find a title that sparks your interest, please do give it your consideration and do let me know if you end up finding a book you love. I know my fellow authors would be very happy to hear this.



Winners!

2012-07-06T00:26:06.471-07:00

The winners of the Summer Reading Extravaganza are:

First Prize: darkin520 (blog follower who emailed her entry)

Second Prize: Galadriel (blog entry)

Third Prize: Billy Meeks (Facebook entry)

CONGRATULATIONS!

darkin and Galadriel, check your email. Mr. Meeks, check your FB inbox. (Be sure to check the inbox marked "other" which you may find by clicking "messages" on the left column of your FB home page.)




Summer Reading Extravaganza

2012-06-21T14:49:48.705-07:00

Did I announce here about the plan for a Summer Reading Promotion? I’ve had it planned since before Blood and Brine came out and I know I have mentioned it before, just not sure where.Anyway, it’s time.First of all, this is about promoting summer reading, and not just of my own books. So let’s get started with the prizes...FIRST PRIZE: a smorgasbord of summer reading accessories ANY READER can enjoy. A waterproof and sandproof eBook reader cover. Fits ALL nooks, Kindles, and iPhones up to 8". I bought one of these for myself and I took my Kindle in the bathtub. It has redundant double seals and very thick plastic. It is NOT just a glorified sandwich bag! The cord is long enough you can wear it around your neck or hang it on the tub fixtures. You can “turn pages” with wet or dirty hands and not harm your eReader.A fully lined travel-print book bag big enough to carry several books to the beach or pool and still have room for a towel, sunscreen, and pair of sunglasses. The zippered side pouch alone could probably fit any Harry Potter book up to #4.A reusable metal sports bottle with “Summer Reading Refresh” printed on the side. Extra sippy top and cover included.A sturdy tasseled bookmark as well as some less-sturdy promo bookmarks from authors who have donated them.SECOND PRIZEYour choice: An Amazon gift certificate for $15 -OR- all three of my books (The Ascendancy Trilogy) in paperback. Autographed. Three bookmarks will come with the physical books.THIRD PRIZEAll three of my books (The Ascendancy Trilogy) in electronic form of your choice. *Entry Bonus* Any U.S. reader willing to provide a snail-mail address (EMAIL it, do NOT post on the blog!!) will get a selection of bookmarks. I will NOT share your address or send you junk mail.International residents may enter the giveaway, but if they win a non-electronic prize (anything that must be mailed) then they have to cover the difference between domestic and international postage, payable through PayPal, in advance. International winners may substitute electronic prizes of lower value to avoid paying postage. (Example, a First Prize winner may substitute the Amazon gift certificate or the third prize.)How to Enter:You get one free entry if you post your email address in a comment here or email it to me. You may mask the address to thwart the bots [e.g. cfvici(at)aol(dot)com] if you post here.You get another free entry if you “like” the Ascendancy Trilogy page on Facebook *AND* post “Enter me!” on the timeline/wall there. If you win through a Facebook entry without also giving an email, you will be contacted through Facebook messaging. It is YOUR responsibility to check all FB inboxes.You get another entry for every one of my books you buy between now and the end of the contest. Email a copy of your receipt dated June 21 - July 5. You may buy from any vendor, online or off, as long as you send me a dated receipt. This includes ebooks, paperbacks, and hardbacks. Click here for purchase links for the first book. (Other books are linked off that page.)All entries must be completed by 11:59 PM PDT on July 5, 2012. (Don’t “unlike” the Facebook page before then if you want it to count.)Winners will be announced on this blog and on the Ascendancy Trilogy Facebook Page. Winners will have one week to arrange to collect their prizes. Any prize not collected will be forfeited. An uncollected First Prize will be re-awarded. All other prizes will not be re-awarded.[...]



The Great Swimsuit Search, part deux

2012-05-09T10:05:45.606-07:00

This is Part Deux, which implies there was a Part Un. Read that here. I spent a TON of time doing web searches and scouring retail sites, taking some suggestions from the comments made on the last post. While it was far from easy, I now have something to wear for my Shark Tour. Not what I wanted, but it will do for now.Let me share the steps of my journey. I did finally find some decent lycra fabric in a pretty pattern and for sale in reasonable amounts rather than Chinese wholesalers who expect to be selling hundreds of yards at a time. Where did I finally find this? Ebay. It is in two-yard “lots” which you don’t even have to bid on. They’re “buy-it-now” and only $12.99 + $5.00 shipping. That’s less than $9 a yard and shipping would be less if I bought 4 yards at once. A very excellent price.However, finding patterns was more difficult. Kwik-Sew has a pattern similar to what I want. (It’s avaliable here if you’re interested.) It’s two-piece rather than one and I’d have to modify it quite a bit because this pattern is for men, who obviously don’t have to worry about silly details like hips and busts.The Green Pepper has a pattern which is one-piece, but I’d have to alter it for size and I’d probably cut off the sleeves and long legs at the same time. However, Green Pepper is in the dark ages. They have a website (where I got that pic) but they do not have any order buttons! If you want to buy from them, you’ve got to print out an order form, fill it out with a pen, and snail-mail or fax it. Bah! Who operates like that in this day and age?The absolute best pattern is from Jalie. That patterned lycra suit on the girl with the Boogie Board is about what I had in mind for arm and leg length, AND it is one-piece! The only thing wrong with it is the size. I have to give them props for including 22 sizes in one package. I could use this pattern for my 1-year-old grandson. As an interesting aside, this pattern also includes a hooded suit (blue one on the skater) not unlike the Muslim swimwear with hijab. However, I am about 12 inches larger in the bust than the largest size they include. Major modification, but not impossible.Since none of the patterns would fit without modification, I also considered drafting a custom pattern. There are some detailed instructions with step-by-step video aids on this site. This would ensure an absolute perfect fit. Coupled with that lovely fabric from Ebay, I could have my dream bathing suit. Or would I?Buying the materials would be simple enough but facing all that modifying or drafting, plus cutting and sewing on very tricky lycra? Daunting. My back hurts just thinking about it. I know I would procrastinate, maybe indefinitely.Instead, I have saved all the links and am using that future dream suit as incentive. I decided to get something easy (read, pre-made) for now with the promise that *if* I use it to snorkel and swim more and find I really have a *need* for a nicer suit, then I will be willing to put in the work to get it.Factoid of the Universe: There are modest/sun-protective suits for sale out there. There are separates for big people out there. There are inexpensive suits out there. However, you cannot have all three at the same time. I paid more than I wanted to for what I got. Oh well, can’t have everything.I found this tankini top at SwimsuitsForAll.com. It doesn’t cover shoulders and neck, but none of the rashguard-type swimshirts has a built-in bra and I CANNOT do without. This top had several things I wanted: it came in size 32W, with a bra reputed to support a DD cup, it was a pretty PRINT and, wonder of wonders, it was on CLEARANCE! I paid $14.95 plus about $6 tax an[...]



Why it's hard for whales to swim with sharks

2012-04-21T20:44:10.747-07:00

I’ve been joking about swimming with sharks for months now, but an opportunity presented itself in my email box via Groupon and I couldn’t pass it up. I am going on the Shark Tour offered by La Jolla Water Sports. No, the sharks are not dangerous. They’re leopard sharks with mouths too small to even take off an arm. Two hours. Underwater. Sharks. Coral. Pretty fish. Heaven. I bought the Groupon without even knowing if I could find someone to go with me. I will go alone if I have to. They supply masks, fins, and snorkels, but most importantly, they will be guides and tell us where to go to see the good stuff. So now that I am going, I have another problem: what to wear. I do not have a bathing suit that’s fit for public consumption. No. Really. Every time I have dreamed of taking scuba diving classes, I have always stopped short because I’m too worried I won’t fit their provided wetsuits (I’m not a standard size) and the humiliation I’d face when they informed me scares me too much to consider inquiry. I go to the pool at my trailer park with shorts and a t-shirt and even that is scary for me. But I am committed now. I have to wear something to go snorkeling. This is what I had in mind. A cute suit that would cover all my cellulite and enough of my stark white skin that I wouldn’t get mistaken for a beluga whale. Off to Google I go. HA! Those cute suits only exist for kids and teens. Once you get into adult sizes, forget any pretty pattered lycra. It’s all solid and boring. This was the very best I could find for adults. Even at a hefty $70, I would buy this in a heartbeat, but of course, it doesn’t come in whale sizes. It goes up to 2X but with my bust and hips, there is no way I could fit in that size. This is what I found in my size: basically a wetsuit made with Lycra instead of neoprene. It goes all the way to the ankle! Do I not stand out enough at the beach as it is? You want me to arrive in longjohns? My lower arms are the only part of my body that has even a hint of tan and while my legs are not sexy by any stretch of the imagination, I carry almost no fat at all below the knee (it’s all on my hips and thighs). Plus, it’s $99! Ouch. I’d been secretly hoping I could start swimming more and maybe LOSE some of this fat, but this suit is not going to help me feel more comfortable at a public pool. So I started thinking separates. I didn’t like the idea because I’m so short-waisted. I really wanted that long, uninterrupted front panel to draw the eye down to my acceptable shins, but what I wanted didn’t exist. Given that I had no choice but to compromise, maybe I could go back to my original vision and get a pretty printed fabric now that I was forced to settle for bike shorts and rash guards. Something like... Again, this was a pipe dream. Large women have NO print choices at all. Large men have one print choice: Ugh. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against camo prints on people who could conceivably have real use for camo. Military guys and gals. People who hunt or who participate in paintball wars. However, it’s just not “me”. Plus, although it is supposedly 4X, I’m very skeptical this would fit me. The size chart goes by weight instead of measurements, and I am considerably over the weight limit given. It’s cut for men, meaning probably no allowance for bust. At least this is very nicely priced at only $19.99 for the set. Further reason to doubt it would fit. Nothing made for large people is ever reasonably priced. Ever. Which brings me to my next point... Here’s a very pretty-colored rash guard (swimshirt) that comes in my size. However, it’s $60 for ju[...]



Live and Let Fly by Karina Fabian

2012-04-01T00:01:01.069-07:00

Three years since I reviewed Karina Fabian's hilarious and brilliant Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem, we FINALLY get another full-length Vern novel! Live and Let Fly comes out April 20th from Muse It Up Publishing!

The magic is Faerie. The technology, Mundane. When they meet, the survival of the world rests in one dragon's…er…claws. See Vern as you've never seen him before!

For a dragon detective with a magic-slinging nun as a partner, saving the worlds gets routine. So, when the US government hires Vern and Sister Grace to recover stolen secrets for creating a new Interdimensional Gap-- secrets the US would like to keep, thank you—Vern sees a chance to play Dragon-Oh-Seven.

No human spy, however, ever went up against a Norse goddess determined to use those secrets to rescue her husband. Sigyn will move heaven and earth to get Loki—and use the best and worst of our world against anyone who tries to stop her.

It's super-spy spoofing at its best with exotic locations, maniacal middle-managers, secret agent men, teen rock stars in trouble, man-eating animatronics, evil overlords and more!

Learn more about Karina at Fabianspace and Dragoneye, P.I. Visit Vern's Blog for an excerpt, video trailer, and more goodies! I just got a review copy, so stay tuned for my review later this month.



Plot Premise

2012-03-15T18:19:21.255-07:00

Frumpy middle-aged writer realizes the only way she can sell books is if she’s dead and even then, it doesn’t look too promising. Disinterested husband and grown children no longer need her, so she socks away the spare change she fishes out of the washing machine and behind couch cushions until she has enough to buy a hefty life insurance policy with no exclusions. Then she takes up swimming with sharks.
This could then go two ways:

Murder Mystery: Sharks attack and no one is too surprised until they find out her sunblock was spiked with dried fish blood.

Suspense Thriller: There’s a close call with the sharks and someone filmed it. Video goes viral. Books start selling. But then “accidents” start happening. Did one of the beneficiaries find out about the life insurance, or are the shark-fin moguls trying to off the sharks’ vocal new advocate?

What do you think?



Naked Truth

2012-03-09T11:16:13.845-08:00

Well, sea slugs, there will be no singing. In the interest of full disclosure and “naked truth” I will post the results of the Ursula Challenge. These are for sales between Feb. 4th and March 8th:

4 paperbacks, all of Nor Iron Bars a Cage. Not surprising since the Amazon sale of that particular book is what started all this.

13 ebooks: 6 The Duke’s Handmaid, 5 Nor Iron Bars a Cage, and 2 Blood and Brine.

That brings the grand total to 17.

What did Voldemort say? “I confess myself... disappointed.” Overall, surely, but I am most disappointed in the sales of the brand new book. The other two have been around for several years, because they were first self-published. Blood and Brine is brand-spanking-new. No one ever had a chance to buy this book EVER BEFORE. We pushed on getting it out and I magnanimously extended the contest three full days and it STILL only sold two copies. Sad, sad, sad.

I think I will leave the nudity to my friend Diane from now on. I’ll take my fig leaves and go hide in the bushes.



Not Fair

2012-03-05T16:54:44.196-08:00

All right, dear readers, today was supposed to be the last day of the Ursula Challenge. So far, I have sold 8 Kindle books. Three at the regular price, and five at the completely ridiculous price of 70% off. No other types of eBooks sold. The last I heard, Nor Iron Bars a Cage had sold 4 print copies, of which two were from the sale. That is a total of 12 books.Now, I did agree that I would wait for the paperback report, and that may bump up the numbers a bit, but I’m completely unworried they might push it over the top.“But, Caprice,” you whimper, “what happened to the new release of Blood and Brine on March 1st?”I said from the very beginning that I would not be responsible if Blood and Brine was not released for sale in time for the contest. That was completely out of my hands. I turned in all my edits and rewrites ahead of deadline. HOWEVER, never let it be said I didn’t give my challengers every possible advantage. The last report from my publisher was that the ebook would be available on March 1st and that didn’t happen. Therefore, in the spirit of totally unfair play, I am making yet another conciliatory gesture. I am extending the eBook deadline an extra 72 hours. I will even leave the count open on the other two eBook titles until the end of this extension.Blood and Brine is now LIVE on Smashwords and Amazon. Barnes & Noble will take a while. Smashwords carries the nook file, so there’s really no excuse if you want it right now. You say you don’t know how to side-load? Do you have a teenager? I bet he or she can do it. If not, I have a tutorial page that walks you through. It is NOT hard. Really. Nor Iron Bars a Cage and Blood and Brine are both at regular price (which is still HALF of what paperbacks cost), but The Duke’s Handmaid is participating in a big promotion at Smashwords for Read an Ebook Week. It’s 50% off with their special code. (See link for details.) All books are regular price at Amazon, but everyone had a chance to get them for 70% off last week. I will not feel sorry for the bargain hunters. The original deal:If I sell 100 eBooks between Feb. 3rd and March 5th, at FULL price, then I will sing “Poor Unfortunate Soul” from “The Little Mermaid” and post it on YouTube.The New Deal:If I sell 50 books of any kind between Feb 1st and March 8th, even when they have gone on sale for 70% off for a full week and even when I extend the deadline to give everyone a chance to buy my newest book, I will post the song.No, it’s not “fair”. It’s slanted heavily in favor of my challengers. I’m magnanimous like that.Book 1: The Duke’s Handmaid [Kindle] [paperback]Book 2: Nor Iron Bars a Cage [Kindle] [paperback]Book 3: Blood and Brine [Smashwords] [Amazon]Click here to find all three books on Smashwords. (The anthology Aquasynthesis contains my prequel short story “Fettered Soul”, but most of the stories are by other Splashdown authors. I encourage you to pick it up while you’re there, but it doesn’t count towards the Ursula Challenge.[...]



Versatile? Does that mean "full of eggs"?

2012-02-29T12:36:07.356-08:00

That’s what Wilbur the pig (some terrific, radiant, humble pig) asked Charlotte the spider in E.B. White’s classic, “Charlotte’s Web”. Oddly, I felt the need to tell you that was the first thing to pop in my head when I was “awarded” this dubious honor.But enough nostalgic trivia. The “award” comes with “rules” and they are thus:1. In a post on your blog, nominate 15 fellow bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.(Nope. Not gonna do it. Looks like you’ve already nominated everyone I would have, and then some.)2. In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.(You mean that very plain graphic up there? Sheesh. I could have done better than THAT. In fact, I insist on a better graphic. Like THIS instead.3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog. (Yeah, thanks a lot, Kat. Like I didn’t have anything better to do with my time.)4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.(I think I need to write a master’s thesis on why this kind of activity is so pervasive on the Internet. What is it with people’s fascination for random bits of trivia? Oh, fine. I will comply.)5. In the same post, include this set of rules. (Duh.)6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs. (Since I refuse to nominate, I also decline to inform. Sue me.)My Seven Random Facts:1) I am a slob. No, really. Epic proportions. Also, and possibly realted: I am not a “people person”. I would be very happy as a hermit. I never felt sorry for the characters on Gilligan’s Island. Other than Ginger and the Howells, I couldn’t figure ouy why in the world they wanted to be rescued. 2) I want to turn my small back yard (we live in a mobile home; the lots are TINY) into an aquaponic garden. We could feed the world this way. I have tried it on a small scale with herbs and a 20 gallon tank of guppies. That was practice for the big system I really want. The back yard would have talapia or some other good-to-eat fish and vegetables I would actually eat (as opposed to herbs that I didn’t use).3) If they ever come up with gill implants that work on humans, I will be first in line to get them. I dream of swimming without breathing and when I “fly” in a dream, then the air becomes heavy and I swim through it. If I can’t get gills, I would settle for SCUBA lessons. 4) I was class valedictorian way back in 1981 for a class of 251 students, but while sports will pay for 4 full years of college, academics won’t get you nearly as far. The “scholarship” I got for my 4.0 didn’t even cover one semester of college and my student loans all fizzled out by my junior year. I didn’t finish college despite having a 3.78 GPA. 5) Neither I nor my husband like coffee. I don’t even like mocha-flavored ice cream. I will, however, tolerate the mild coffee flavor in McDonalds’ Caramel Frappé. I will buy one of those as a meal (as in, they cost as much as a meal should and they have similar calorie count) instead of a burger and fries.6) I was adopted at birth. We adopted my grand-nephew at 20 months. He has “special needs”. I say that with the same inflection as Kari, the babysitter from “The Incredibles”, says it about Jack-Jack. 7) I like a lot of unloveable creatures: rats, sharks, bees, spiders, jellyfish, snakes. This does not mean I will cuddle with a spider. But I find them fascinating and I don’t get grossed out by pictures or seeing them beh[...]



Yes, I've had the Odd Complaint, but on the Whole I've Been a Saint

2012-02-22T21:45:20.838-08:00

As if the deal wasn’t sweet enough already for my challengers, it’s now in the realm of ridiculous. You see, independent of this deal to sell 50 books in a month, I’d agreed to participate in “any” sales my publisher promoted, totally unaware she had one planned anytime soon. Granted, I could have backed out of this publisher-wide sale because this challenge might be considered extenuating circumstances, but I gave my word.Furthermore, since I DID specifically exclude any sales where coupons were used, I COULD, technically, not count any of the books sold at these ridiculous prices. And I DO mean ridiculous. My eBooks are now selling for $2.99 each. That’s over 70% off!!!However, rather than wimp out and cry foul, I am NOT backing down. The deal is still on, even at 70% off. Yes, you heard me right, dear readers. So now I have not only cut in half the number of books that have to be sold, but the price of those books have been absolutely SLASHED down to the bone.Sorry this sale doesn’t include paperbacks. Neither I nor my publisher have any control whatsoever over paperback prices. Amazon makes most of the money every time a paperback is sold. Not me. Not my publisher. Amazon. While I will count those sales and I don’t begrudge anyone reading the old-fashioned way, just know that it really doesn’t represent much in the way of profit for anyone but Amazon. Yes, I am being preferential toward eBooks, but it’s out of necessity.The original deal:If I sell 100 eBooks between Feb. 3rd and March 5th, at FULL price, then I will sing “Poor Unfortunate Soul” from “The Little Mermaid” and post it on YouTube.The New Deal:If I sell 50 books of any kind between Feb 1st until March 5th, even at the utterly ridiculous price of $2.99 for eBooks, I will post the song.My publisher is fairly confident “Blood and Brine” eBooks will go on sale on schedule, on March 1st. Don’t count on the sale lasting that long, but that does give another opportunity for those who already have the other books and just need another title to buy. Book 1: The Duke’s Handmaid [Kindle] [paperback]Book 2: Nor Iron Bars a Cage [Kindle] [paperback]Book 3: Blood and Brine (eBook coming March 1st)I still honor eBooks of other formats if you buy from Smashwords. Paperback sales count only if made in the month of February -or- if a receipt dated March 1-5 is emailed to me or Grace.[...]



Do I Help Them? ... Yes, Indeed!

2012-02-18T17:46:43.105-08:00

I guess no one wants to see me totally humiliate myself. My sales aren’t much different from any other month.

Since I’m feeling rather cocky right now, I’m going to sweeten the deal. I am cutting the challenge in HALF. That’s right. I’ll hold up my end of the challenge if even 50 books are sold by March 5th. Not 100. Fifty. But wait! I’m throwing in PRINT BOOKS too. Any paperbacks bought in the same time period (including those already sold this month) all count toward the 50. This means the print books bought when “Nor Iron Bars a Cage” went on sale also count.

The original deal:
If I sell 100 eBooks between Feb. 3rd and March 5th, then I will sing “Poor Unfortunate Soul” from “The Little Mermaid” and post it on YouTube.

The New Deal:
If I sell 50 books of any kind between Feb 1st until March 5th, I will post the song.

The Caveat (AKA fine print): My publisher gets paperback sales reports by the month. That means only print books sold between Feb. 1st and Feb. 29th will count for this, UNLESS you forward a receipt dated March 1-5 to either me or Grace Bridges (my publisher). Also, paperback sales cannot be tabulated until the distributor sends the report, which may be as late as March 9th.

“Blood and Brine” will not be out in paperback before the end of the challenge, but eBooks of that title will count, as well as both of my other two books, print and electronic.

Book 1: The Duke’s Handmaid [Kindle] [paperback]

Book 2: Nor Iron Bars a Cage [Kindle] [paperback]

Book 3: Blood and Brine (eBook coming March 1st)

I still honor eBooks of other formats if you buy from Smashwords.



Flotsam, Jetsom, Now I've Got Her, Boys

2012-02-04T09:38:57.048-08:00

Well, now I’ve done it. I saw that Amazon put one of my books on sale and I “advertised” this sale on my Facebook status. A conversation ensued and I ended up saying something like “If I could sell 100 Kindle books in a month, I’d sing on YouTube.”

My friends are holding me to it. If I sell 100 eBooks in the next 31 days, that’s from now until 11:59 PM PST Monday March 5th, then I will sing “Poor Unfortunate Soul” from “The Little Mermaid”. In makeup. And post it on YouTube.

When we first started, we were only discussing “Nor Iron Bars a Cage” because it was on sale, but I said ANY of my eBooks would count, which means “The Duke’s Handmaid” is eligible too.

I will also count “Blood and Brine” but I will NOT be responsible for any delay in the release date and it is not due to be out until March 1st. Furthermore, I will not change any of the terms if Amazon ends the sale. (Which I see they did within HOURS of this challenge.)

Book 1: The Duke’s Handmaid
Book 2: Nor Iron Bars a Cage
Book 3: Blood and Brine (coming March 1st)

While I have given all Amazon-Kindle links here, I will also honor sales of any other eBook format but only if you buy from Smashwords. That’s simply because B&N doesn’t have an easy way to track the results over the time period. Note: Sales of “Aquasynthesis” will not count towards this challenge, nor any sales where a coupon is used.

I really don’t think I’m in much danger, but if this happens, I take no responsibility for the entertainment value of my performance. Last time I sang in front of anyone was in high school youth choir. Note: I didn’t have a solo for a reason, folks.

Stay tuned for the results.



Post-partum Depression

2012-02-03T13:34:52.930-08:00

Writers often talk about writing a book as if it’s giving birth. Our novels are “babies” that we nourish with words. We generally keep them hidden and protected before they’re ready for the public (notwithstanding my little experiment, which was an anomoly). We provide quality prenatal care (feedback, critique, editing). When we’re done, it feels like we’ve gone through a marathon of labor to get the newborn out into the world.However, the part for me that feels most like childbirth is the post-partum depression. Some mothers feel this directly after labor, some after coming home from the hospital/birth center (which can be extended by quite a bit if there are medical problems), and some not until after all the relatives stop visiting and no more casseroles show up magically on the doorstep. There are even some who never suffer this at all. You disgusting women know who you are. You probably hit a weight lower than pre-pregnancy within three days, too. If you are one of these women, please do NOT gloat about your good fortune lest I come to your blog and brag about being class valedictorian.Anyway, just like mothers, authors can get their post-partum depression at different stages of “done” too. I felt some of it when I got the rough draft all finished and another burst when I finished three rounds of critiques and edits. I expect there will be a little more right after the release date as well.Right now, I’m still somewhat in this mode. No doubt, part of my problem is lack of inspiration to get my fanfiction back on track. I went right back to it immediately after finishing the first draft because I knew I had a lot of waiting time ahead of me while the critiquers went through it. I did get some good chapters in then. However, the train got derailed when I had to do more editing than anticipated (am I ever going to get to the point where I can estimate that acurately?) and now it’s not quite as easy to jump back on.I have been doing some recharging of my creative batteries. Or maybe it’s just my justification for not writing; take your pick. I read some books I’ve been putting off while I was deep into the rough draft: Finding Angel by Kat Heckenbach, I am Ocilla by Diane Graham, and Electric Angel by Sue Dent. I proofed a nonfiction book for Rick Copple and I did a preliminary estimate for a paid edit, but the manuscript isn’t quite ready for me yet. I have more books in my “to-be-read” pile, but my interest is waning. Truth is, I’m having withdrawals. Again. I need to get back in the groove. I have to try to woo back the readers I dump--er--set aside temporarily, not because they owe me anything, but because I desperately WANT them back. I still dream of the now-finished trilogy “taking off” and finally providing more of what I crave along with the absurd notion of profit, but after two published books that didn’t really provide much in either category, I’m not holding my breath on this one. Much. Still, even if there is gold to be found in that mine, it’s at least six long weeks away and I need a “fix” sooner. Listen here, Muse: I capitulated and did what you wanted. I wrote that third book for publication. I finished what I started. But that was supposed to make you happy and loosen you up. Time to pay up, bucko. Stop withholding on me! Give me some ideas. Like, NOW.Sorry for that interruption. Does anyone else talk to their Mu[...]