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Apologies to the peeps that follow me for writing =).  Music is also a huge part of my life and I sometimes blog about that as well.

I posted this on Tumblr earlier:

I’m seeing a mixed reaction to Brooks Wackerman.  Some are happy, some are on the fence, and some are being down right rude.

To each their own way, of course, but there’s no reason to be rude.  If you take a listen to Brooks, you’ll hear his chops.  You can tell he was influenced by Jimmy.  You can hear the nuances that Jimmy had in his playing.  Brooks is going to bring that JImmy-esque style of playing back to the band.

I loved Arin.  But the reality is that he couldn’t play the old stuff to temp.  And if the band couldn’t get him where they needed for the new album, it was time to part ways.  You can’t keep working with someone if it’s not working out.  In the absence of Jimmy, it’s entirely likely to take a couple of tries to find the person that’s the right fit.  I think the boys have found the right fit with Brooks.

Listen to the podcast.  Listen to the excitement in Shad’s voice.  Notice how it feels like two old friends chatting with Jericho?  That element has been missing since Arin came in.  I wish Arin all the best and it’s obvious the boys are going to stay friends.  Matt made that clear, that he has nothing bad to say about Arin.  But things didn’t work out, so that’s how it goes.

To those being rude:  please reign yourselves in.  You like morons saying nasty things about Brooks.  If you don’t like him, fine, but say it nicely.  Check him out before you judge.  Understand where the guys are coming from.

Brooks: welcome to the family.  Batten down the hatches, so your privacy stays intact.  And good luck.

I really hope he does well and fits in.  From the sounds of the podcast, he’s a great fit, but time will tell.  I see a lot of people that are upset because Arin was let go.  It sounds like it was all good, but he needed a lot of guidance and wasn’t on the same page about important stuff like song writing.  Plus, he’s a dad now, and I’m sure he’d love some time to be a dad.  There’s not a doubt in my mind that some band is going to gobble him up in the future.  We’ve not heard the last of Arin, of that I’m sure.  And I will check out whatever he does next.

As to Brooks: welcome, man.  Good luck.  The fans are rabid, some are downright awful, but most of us are pretty chill.  =)

One Broke Girl: An Edgewood Falls Book by Rhonda Helms.

One Broke Girl brings us the story of Anna, a transplant from NYC to Edgewood Falls, Ohio. In NYC, she had it all: rich parents, not a care in the world, and an easy life. Then, her mother leaves unannounced. She and her dad, penniless, pack up and move back to her dad’s hometown in Ohio.

Anna doesn’t like it at first. She misses NYC and her life there. She’s angry at her mother for leaving them and her dad’s slipped into a massive depression. Anna has to support the family, so she takes on whatever jobs she can find. As the story progresses, the reader is taken along on Anna’s journey to make friends, keep her family afloat, and try and bring her dad out of his depression. Along the way, Anna meets Gavin, a teacher at the local elementary school. They begin a friendship that quickly turns into much more. The book takes plenty of twists and turns, up and downs to get to the conclusion, which I won’t spoil for anyone.

What drew me to the book was that I had spoken with the author different times on social media. We’re both part of the writing community and so on occasion our paths cross and we get a chance to visit with each other. I saw that she had some books out, looked her up, and the back cover blurb sounded good to me.

I’ll preface this with this is not my normal kind of book. You’ll see me reading Alice Hoffman, Kristin Hannah, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, or Terry Pratchett. But every good writer has to branch out, and so I did.

I like Helms’ writing style. It’s similar to my own, which made it easy for me to read. She focuses on real people with real problems, which are the kinds of books I like to read and write. Her characters are easy to identify with and feel like real people on the page. As you read, you become invested in their lives and genuinely want to know what happens next.

The pacing is good in this book, which makes it a fast read, but the kind that sucks you in and doesn’t let you go. I frequently found myself absorbed in the book waiting for a meeting to start or sitting at home, to the point I’d be startled out of my reading by someone speaking to me.

If you’re into romances, there is plenty of romance to go around. For those not into as much romance, the book is good there, too. Plenty of non-romance elements to balance the romance parts of the book made for a great read.

All in all, I highly recommend this book to all readers. There’s also a book two, which I will review later.

Readers of romance novels or contemporary novels with a touch of romance will like this book. You can purchase this book here: One Broke Girl

Danielle Doolittle challenged me to this rather simple idea:

The basics of the challenge are simple: starting at the seventh line of the seventh page of a current WIP post the next seven lines and tag seven more authors to join in the fun. (Shouldn’t there be one more seven in the challenge?)

So…where we go! Let me introduce you to this excerpt:


Edward is the manager for the band Closure. In this excerpt, he’s lamenting the fans a little. =)  WIP is titled In the Blink of an Eye.


There were privacy issues where fans would hack into social media and get pictures and post them online. There were stalkers once in a blue moon. He had to deal with wanna-be groupies. And there were label politics, too.

Watching the boys now, as they tried to sneak unsuccessfully onto the bus, he smiled. The boys were tired, as their US tour was winding down, but they all took time with the fans. Those few seconds of interactions would make a fan’s year, and he always reminded the boys how important those few seconds were to their career.


It’s rough, although some might recognize the characters. I’m in the process of re-writing this book to be (hopefully) better. My goal is to query it in 2017. That seems a long ways off…

Hello potential mentor!

I would like to tell you a little about myself.  First off, I run away from the word “normal”. What is normal, anyway?  Boring, that’s what normal is.

So, what about weird little me? Well, I’m a Whovian, a Trekkie, a bit geeky (but there are plenty of people who out-geek me), I love reading, writing, gardening, and was born with the gift of gab.

I love music!  I’m a Deathbat (A7X), a Daughter of Darkness (Halestorm), a George Strait fan, a Johnny Cash girl, and a fan of Shinedown, and a Member of the Congregation (Ghost).

Okay, with that out of the way, here’s why you’d love to work with me if you picked me as your mentee:

  1. I’m easy going. I love feedback and will consider each and every suggestion seriously
  2. I love commentary that makes me laugh.  My friend has a Comma Splice Fairy that has a hayday with my drafts =)
  3. I over-use the smiley face =)
  4. I love working to make my novel better.  My boys are polished but can always use an extra spit shine

So, about my book (at last! you exclaim):

It’s full of the wounded, the frustrated, and the angry.  But it has moments to make you laugh, smile, and cry.  There’s Iowegian speak.  There’s a kind elderly lady.  And my boys are pretty blue collar.  They’re EMTs and paramedics (and Jimmy’s an RN, a flight nurse, and a helicopter pilot).

So, in a nutshell, that’s me.  I’m made of batwings and broken things.  Reader.  Writer.  Deathbat.  LGBT Ally.   Whovian.  Trekkie.  Bookworm.  And a little weird.

I hope you’ve learned more about me.  I’m always open to questions and can be found @Aightball on Twitter.

P.S. I’m also a cat mommy.  Hamlet is 13 and my heart and soul:


Originally posted on Vengenz Graphics:


I stumbled upon a never worn, out of print It’s Not Easy shirt in my collectionits-not-easy

Save one of the above St.Paddys Day VU graphics and post it on twitter. Include @vengenz1 and @vengenzgraphics and #VUluckotheirish in your post. I’ll select a winner at random to get the shirt as well as some stickers and other goodies.

*the shirt is mens XL. But as you know, size doesn’t matter. Be creative if it doesn’t fit ;)

View original

I’m a bit late to this musical party but I just discovered Lost in the River: The New Basement Tapes.  Now, I’m trying to find some place to purchase/watch the documentary that aired on Showtime last November.  In the mean time, thanks to Spotify, I have the CD.  And my goodness is it good.  The group consists of Marcus Mumford (of Mumford and Sons), Elvis Costello, Taylor Goldsmith (of Dawes), Rhiannon Giddens, and Jim James.  Someone unearthed lyrics Bob Dylan wrote back in 1967 and brought these guys together with producer T Bone Burnett.  If you haven’t listened, make sure you find a copy!  I’ve been listening to it all weekend and watched as many of the documentary bits as I could find on Showtime’s YouTube.

Another thing I’m pondering today: how time flies.  I have a niece who just turned seven.  She’s my oldest niece and I remember holding her for the first time when she was a week old.  Now, she’s blossomed into this sassy seven-year-old, full of creative spirit and hopes and dreams.  Our conversations have changed from digging for bugs to talking about her favorite shows, movies, music, and more.  She loves to show me her latest drawings or tell me about her latest book she’s ‘published’.  She’s very much like her mother, too, which is neat.  The other night, I was watching her and she came out in flip flops to play in the yard.  I told her go put shoes and socks on.  I went in to supervise and she was quick to say “you’re annoying me”.  I had to laugh, because that’s what her mother says, too, about some people.  Then, in the next turn, she wanted to give me a great big hug.  Her favorite birthday present was her very own, pink, sparkly stapler.   Someone get me the last seven years back, okay?  It’s fun watching her grow and I can’t wait to see where she goes in the coming years.

Here’s a quick preview of things coming on the blog this month and next:

A review of Rhonda Helm’s “One Broke Girl”, a book that left me grinning from ear to ear.

Musings on this journey I’m taking as a writer.

Rejection: it sucks but it’s part of being a writer.

And, of course, other random musings as they strike.  If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I’m terrible at keeping to a blogging schedule, so if you’re new, be patient =). These things will come, but it might take me a while. I’m a little slow on here sometimes.

I did not get a spot or request in either of the January contests.  This did not surprise me, because 1. I write adult novels and 2. Most contests are very kidlit-centric.  Now, this is not a bad thing.  I read PB, MG, YA, and NA sometimes.  Kidlit is hot right now, YA, MG, and the like are flying off shelves.  But it definitely creates a challenge for us adult writers.  There is a contest specifically for us: AdPit, a pitch day that runs a couple times a year.  This year, AdPit was expanded into a chance for critiques as well and there’s a bigger version coming in June.

But how do adult writers survive in this kidlit climate?  When agents are snapping up books for a younger crowd?  Simple: keep putting yourself out there.  For me, because my book is a contemporary LGBT m/m, I’m hitting the small press route for a couple of tries.  Then, I’ll try for an agent again.  And maybe this isn’t “THE ONE”.  Maybe there’s another book that will get me in the door of publishing.  But we adult writers can’t give up.  Keep entering contests.  Keep querying.  The more we get out there, the louder we get, the better our chances of being recognized.

I’m currently waiting for the results of two writing contests: Sun Vs. Snow and Agent Match.  Sun Vs. Snow has had some fun “Twitter Parties” lately, one of which asked participants on the Twitter feed for their editing tips.  There have been some fantastic ones in the feed, so I thought I’d share some of mine.  Keep in mind, you have to find what works best for you, but this works for me.

The best thing I ever learned was to read the book aloud.  I use a free text-to-speech program called  You only get one voice but it’s not the voice that matters.  It’s hearing your words, which allows you to find the errors, wrong words, missing words, etc.  This has been hands-down one of the best things I’ve ever downloaded.

Another thing I’ve found helpful is in drafting.  I’m 100% a pantster.  No plotting or outlines for me since I never follow them anyway.  So what works for me is to get the idea down, first and foremost.  I call this pounding out the idea.  Once I’ve pounded it out, I let it sit for a while.  A week, a month, a year, however long it takes for it to call me back.  Then, I do a big picture edit.  Fix all the stuff that’s wrong, weird, or not working.  Then, I let it sit.  I do another edit for “stupid stuff”.  This is bad spelling, wrong/missing words, tense shifts, punctuation, etc.  The stuff I know how to do correctly but when pounding out ideas, falls to the wayside.  From there, I draft to fix plot, structure, characters, etc.  Some of my books/short stories will go through five or six drafts, some three or four.  It all depends on what needs fixing and what I don’t like.  After that, I always do a couple of final polishes before deciding if I’m going to enter the book into contests or query it or enter the short story for consideration.

One of my big things is rules.  I know there are many for writing.  Words that are frowned upon (like just or that).  I’m a rule breaker.  BUT I’m also not opposed to those rules.  If I think I need a “forbidden” word, an adverb, whatever, I’m going to use it.  But if I read it through later and realize there’s a better way to say something or that I don’t need a “forbidden” word, I’ll fix it.  I’ve recently tried to see passive voice, etc., and I highly recommend it.  Someone in the Twitter feed mentioned it.  And even a rule breaker like me can see where following the rules is important.  I’ve really spruced up my most recent novel, which I’m getting ready to query, thanks to that website.

So, those are a few of the things I do.  It’s important to use CPs, betas, and stay open minded.  You don’t have to like or take every suggestion you get.  But really read things over, consider their notes, and think about your story.  Querying is all about putting your best foot forward.

Happy writing and happy editing!

I apologize for being such a poky blogger =). Life’s been busy and it doesn’t look to being slowing down any time soon.

I’m about to hit the query trails this year. “Rescue Me”‘ has been spit-shined and polished and once I give it one more going over, I think it’ll be ready. I’m nervous, because so far it’s been all rejections (plus one partial that got rejected), but I think there’s someone out there for it. I’m currently researching LGBT agents and wondering if a couple accept re-queries. I don’t have a dream agent or even a top ten; I simply want the person who is right for this book. And I’ll know who that is when we talk…I’m that kind of writer, I suppose.

I hope 2015 has been good for everyone so far. It’s early in the year, so we have plenty of time to make things amazing. If you’re hitting the query trail, good travels and good luck and if you’re writing/revising/plotting good luck and good words! I’ll try to blog more often and try to get you updated on my query journey once it starts this year.

If you’re looking to get published, heading into the slush soon, or just want a set of eyes on your MS, here’s a great giveaway:


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