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Showing posts from November, 2011

Steampunk Wonderland

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Flash Fiction Fridays contributor Jason G. Anderson has released a new novel, Gears of Wonderland, which puts a far different spin on the famous Lewis Carroll tale.





Here's the description.

James Riggs lives a normal life with a mind-numbing job, an overbearing boss, and a demanding fiancée. Then he witnesses the murder of his best friend. Saved from the murderer by a strange man in a white suit, James is cast down a hole and into a world he always believed was a kid’s story. Wonderland.

But things have changed since Alice’s visit. The Knave of Hearts has seized the Heart throne, conquered all of Wonderland with his steam-powered technological marvels, and rules the land with an iron fist.

Aided by the Mad Hatter's daughter, James journeys to discover why he has been brought to Wonderland and how the tattoo on his arm could be the key to Wonderland’s salvation—or its destruction.

It has been edited by Lynn O'Dell (Red Adept Reviews).

Sounds int…

Miscellany

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Mondays following long weekends are the worst, aren't they? After Thanksgiving and putting up the Christmas decorations (which look lovely, if I do say so myself), we have a few things to discuss today, nothing too taxing as we drag our sorry behinds back to work. Besides, it's Cyber Monday, and I know you want to get to your online shopping.




First, I know I am probably a total dork, but I am pretty excited to announce I have my own hashtag. That's right, Twitter lovers, A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One) has its own moniker, #Bibliophiles1. The really cool thing is that I can add a new one each time one of the Bibliophiles novels is released. For example, Catherine's book will be #Bibliophiles2 when it comes out in the spring of 2012. 



Second, I am conceptualizing the schedule for next year's Flash Fiction Fridays. Do you think we should stay with the monthly themes or go open prompt for most of the year? I do enjoy the…

Flash Fiction Fridays: Musings

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Sometimes things just work out, don't they? This month, the pieces I received for open prompt all deal with the inner workings of the mind — its wishes, doubts, fits and reflections. Enjoy.



Car Parts
By Jay Marvin

The old pickup rattled and squeaked like a prison sentence. Frank felt down. He
wanted right the woman to share his bed.

Sixty miles from Twenty Nine Palms, Frank saw the engine was boiling. Frank sprung from the cab. He smelled a noxious odor clawing the desert air. The thermostat was dead. He didn't have one to fix it.

Sitting, his knees drawn up and back against the truck, he buried his head in his hands. Big rigs blasted by in swirls of dust and sand. He needed help. However, he had no one to call.

It was his fault.

He kept things to himself. He knew many people, but he'd shared little.

Then, without warning, in the still of the night, a bolt of white, hot, luminous explosion hit the desert floor. A young woman locked her eyes on…

The Holiday Season Begins

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


After learning about what really happened on and after the first Thanksgiving, I must confess the holiday is tainted. Thank goodness, my family was not among the crazy Puritans or even in the United States throughout the years of slaughter, when millions of Native Americans died in the name of expansion.

However, the idea of a national day of thanks is an excellent one, so I choose to celebrate that spirit.

It is a tenuous world we inhabit. Economies collapsing. Natural disasters. Political fighting the likes of which I have not seen in my lifetime. Many are struggling. The costs of living grows greater each month.

It is overwhelming.

In these kinds of times, we all need some hope.

My wish as we begin this holiday season is for small, random acts of kindness to spread across the globe reaffirming that amid the chaos, the human capacity for good still exists.

I am going to try it. I hope you will as well.

There are so many things the average citizen really…

Looks Like Alien Love

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Flash Fiction Fridays contributor LC Evans has released her latest romantic comedy novel, My Planet or Yours?

Here's a quick description.

Nora Bryant is a single Earth woman out to ban men from her life after a recent breakup. Triskam is a strikingly handsome extraterrestrial who crash lands near her remote Arizona home. Add to this mix, a couple of misguided thugs looking for a gold rush, an overly friendly, not-so-guard dog, and a communications device that thinks it's a nanny, and you have My Planet or Yours?, a delightful new romantic comedy by LC Evans, author of the Kindle bestseller, We Interrupt This Date.





When all of the good men on earth are taken, what's a girl to do, right?

My Planet or Yours? is available at amazon.com or BN.com .

Flash Fiction Friday: Maddening Musings

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Sometimes things just work out, don't they? This month, the pieces I received for open prompt all deal with the inner workings of the mind — its wishes, doubts, fits and reflections. Enjoy.


Blank
By Paul Venderley

A blank page.

Many a writer has spent hours in front of such a monster, its thin, faded blue lines slicing across an empty canvas rather than serving as perches for words. That is not the nightmare that plagues me now, decades into my life.

I have distilled the halcyon days of my impetuous youth onto college-ruled collections of parchment. Drafted into the Korean War, I used that as impetus to travel the world, from Europe to Africa to Washington, D.C., documenting all I’d seen.

I've written to change things, addressing problems brought on by political folly, by societal fears, by monsters both perceived and real. Each piece, each article, each journal, each letter to the editor I have saved and stored in scores of filing cabinets and bo…

Editing for Grammarphobes: Cutting the Fat

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Redundancies. They clog our writing, weighing it down in unnecessary muck, much like what triple cheeseburgers with bacon and mayonnaise do to our arteries.

Here is a great list from that fantastic book I told you about a few weeks ago, The Bugaboo Review, by Sue Sommer.

Watch out for the following duplicate phrases.

advance planning
and also
burn up
close down
down below
8:00 p.m. at night
fall down
free gift
funeral service
Jewish rabbi
lie down
lift up
my own personal opinion
owns his own home
raise up
refer back
staple together
use it all up

I especially like "Jewish rabbi." What other kind is there?

Time to edit. Have a good day.


Bio

A professional writer/editor for almost 30 years, Karen Wojcik Berner's wide and varied experience includes such topics as grammar, blog content, book reviews, corporate communications, the arts, paint and coatings, real estate, the fire service, writing and literature, research, and publishing. An award-win…

Let’s Help Jump-Start the Economy

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


If you have read A Whisper to a Scream, you might have noticed how much time Annie and Sarah spend in coffeehouses. No surprise, I am exceedingly fond of hot beverages, especially chai tea lattes, Annie’s favorite drink, followed closely by Sarah’s preference, peppermint mocha. Yum.

Anyhow, one of my favorite places, Starbucks, has started a wonderful program called “Let’s Create Jobs,” an attempt to get badly needed money and loans to small business owners and underserved communities through the Opportunity Finance Network.




If you purchase a $5 wrist band, all of the proceeds will go toward getting small businesses the money they need to keep afloat and/or expand, which will help the create jobs our country so desperately needs.

All it takes is five extra dollars when you go in and grab your morning coffee. Just think, for a little more than the cost of an extra grande, all of us can do a small part to help our local, family-owned businesses.

Will you jo…

Flash Fiction Fridays: More Musings

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Sometimes things just work out, don't they? This month, the pieces I received for open prompt all deal with the inner workings of the mind — its wishes, doubts, fits and reflections. Enjoy.



Looking For Love in the Hall of Mirrors
by Nick Kirincic

I don’t like her as much on Friday nights. She dresses fancier, and puts on too much makeup, and laughs too hard at things I know she doesn’t think are funny. Her hair is puffier, and her voice is tuned up an octave, as if she were reading the news or selling something on a shopping network. She dances to songs I know she thinks are terrible, slinking her body around to imply a sexuality I know she doesn’t possess, walking a constant plank in shoes I know she’s not comfortable in. She’s nice to people I know she doesn’t like and ignores people that I know she likes and performs for an audience that I know she abhors.

I like her more on nights like last Monday. We sat in the corner booth at Mac’s, the half doze…

Read Along with The Bibliophiles

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


I have added something to my website that I would like to share with you.

Since the whole concept of The Bibliophiles series revolves around a book club, I thought it might be fun to create book club ideas based upon the literature The Bibliophiles will read throughout each book of my series.

You could incorporate these into your established book clubs, or start a brand new one of your own.

First up is A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, at the beginning of A Whisper to a Scream. The Bibliophiles also study As You Like It by William Shakespeare.

Since food and beverages are half of book club fun, I have developed some suggestions that are thematically linked to the literature. For example, James Joyce was Irish, so what about serving mini-ruben sandwiches and Guinness? Or maybe even bangers and mash, a pub favorite?

I also wrote up three discussion questions for each piece to help facilitate your conversation, including some for A Whis…

I Have a Dream

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


November is "Adopt an Indie" month. I don't know if you remember my post on it a few weeks ago, but Donna Brown over at bookbagsandcatnaps.com has organized this event to bring authors, readers and book bloggers together to dispel the myth that the only good books come from traditional publishing companies. There are plenty of great indie novels out there. It is not just the Big Six anymore.





My guest blog appears here, in which I discuss what I have learned about indie authors during my two years of officially being out on my own.

"Adopt an Indie" month also includes live chats with authors, lots of great guest blogs and prizes.

Please stop by or better yet, support indie authors today by either trying out one of their books or leaving a review if you liked their work.

I have a dream that someday it will not matter who published the book, but what is inside.

Flash Fiction Fridays: Musings

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Sometimes things just work out, don't they? This month, the pieces I received for open prompt all deal with the inner workings of the mind — its wishes, doubts, fits and reflections. To start off November, here's a story with which many of you are probably quite familiar.



A Slave to her Muse
By Leanne Dyck


Debbie Newton slept, but not peacefully. One minute she lay on her stomach, the next she flipped like a pancake on to her back. She kicked at the blankets, mashed her head into the pillow. Longing for a soothing island oasis, she found a violent storm. The wind raged, tossing her like a kite. A rope. Yes, that's what I need. In her hands, a thick rock climber's rope appeared. She looped it around a tree and then around herself. There, she thought, confident she'd won. Red-handled scissors materialized. One cut and she sailed into the air.

"No fair!" she screamed, pounding her mattress.

Soaring over rooftops, she looked down …

Who Couldn't Use a Little More Love?

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Friend of the blog and previous Flash Fiction Fridays contributor Stephanie Haddad has released a new book, a contemporary romance entitled Love Unlisted.


Grace Shields is not your typical control freak. She’s much more organized. But a career that’s getting away from her and a sudden brotherly home invasion have her just a teeny bit more stressed than usual. Enter Colin Kilbourne, a free-spirited musician with a knack for ruffling Grace’s pristine feathers...and spilling coffee on all her work clothes. Grace has to find a way to become impervious to his mischievous charm and good looks, or else she just might lose control over everything after all.

Love Unlisted is available on amazon.com and Smashwords.