A Horse With No Name

I was on my way to pick up my 8-year old from school when I had the kind of experience that a person just has to share.

As I came over the hill of a busy four-lane road I had to slow to a stop. Although the light was green, traffic was barely moving at a crawl. I strained my neck, looking for the sputtering jalopy or student driver who must be trying–and failing miserably–to find first gear. My automatic response systems kicked in, along with all the names I could call the offender when I finally honed in on him. And then, I found them. Not just one, but the four responsible parties who were impeding the flow of traffic.

I saw the first one when he peeked around the corner of a truck with a camper shell. His dark mane hung over the right side of his face, his dark eyes cautiously assessed traffic as he stepped toward the center line. His errant friends galloped along the cars on the outer lane before darting into traffic as well. That’s right friends, I said “galloped”, because today, by the grace of all things good, wonderful & bizarre, there were four horses on one of the busiest intersections in town, literally destroying the timeline of some very pissed off commuters.

Adding to this glory were the men who were chasing them. Four men and a police officer, all on foot and in hot pursuit–dodging in and out of traffic. The horses were evading the law. How many times can  you say that? How many times in the short time I am granted on this earth will I ever get to see a uniformed officer involved in a foot pursuit…with a horse?

This was truly a blessed day that was gifted to me by a greater power. One who has a disturbed sense of humor and could think of nobody better to share it with. And, for that, I am eternally grateful.

Amen. 

John Krasinski:Action Star?

In case you haven’t read 13 Hours in Benghazi, it’s a good book which gives the full account of the operatives who were on the ground, and under fire, when US personnel were attacked in 2012. I had the honor of attending an engagement in which three of those operatives–Kris Paronto, Mark Geist and John Tiegen–spoke and I remember thinking immediately, “This would make a great movie.”

Several months later this is how I found out about the movie:

Someone: Did you hear that they are making a movie about that 13 Hours book?

Me: Really? I knew it *fist pump–or some other ridiculous gesture of triumph*

Someone: Michael Bay is going to direct and John Krasinski has already signed on.

Me: John Krasinski?!?! The dude from The Office? *checks the internet, certain this was a monumental mistake on Someone’s behalf*

As it turns out, John Krasinski–from The Office– had indeed been signed. (?)

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To clarify, I wasn’t horrified at the thought, but was admittedly a doubter. He seems like a nice guy, he’s cute and decent and, well, funny. How would that translate in a movie which is based on thirteen hours of intense danger, gun fights and the bad ass heroics of men who had served in the real life special forces?

And so, I waited…and waited..and waited (Dear God, it seems like I waited for this movie a lllooonnnggg time–a curse of the book to movie lover). Finally I saw a still of John Krasinski in character.

images  “Well, he looks the part.” I had to admit. (Loved the beard, by the way). But, would he be able to be as intense and serious as I imagined the role called for or would there always be a Jim Halpern gleam in his eye? The trailers rolled out and I just couldn’t tell. And so I waited…and waited…(Damn the waiting!!!). This weekend I finally got to see the film adaptation of 13 Hours in Benghazi.

13 Hours: the Secret Soldiers of Benghazi was a solid movie. I think it was true to the book (and, according to the men it’s based on, was also true to the actual events), Michael Bay did not go too crazy with the explosions (which, lets admit it, was a real possibility!). Most importantly though, the actors were great. The biggest surprise though, John Krasinski is great in action movies. He was serious and walked like a guy who was used to kicking ass and had made a career of it. In an early scene he had the deadpan, steady gaze of a man who was just daring someone to “Go ahead, punk. Make my day.”

imgres  Really, who’s going to mess with this dude?

So, now I have to make the official announcement that John Krasinski is my new favorite action movie actor…ok, action heart-throb too, I mean, really, now he’s a cutie and has a dangerous edge to him. Now, if only he’ll make some more action movies, because honestly, I can only stand so many Rom-Coms (blech!).

 

Powerball: Live the Dream

One point five billion dollars.

That is the current, estimated, Powerball value. Imagine that (go ahead, take a moment, I’ll wait…).

Just sittin’ here waiting..no rush…

Like everyone else, I’ve watched lottery fever grow as the jackpot reached $450 million, and then $880 million. Who can’t imagine winning even a small portion of that jackpot?

Last weekend, on one of my social media feeds, a post popped up from an acquaintance that left me feeling a little, well, judged. The person who’d written the post was essentially saying that playing the lottery is a foolish endeavor and that the only true “winning lottery” is the one you create for yourself through financial planning, sacrifice and saving. They went on to imply that the lottery is more likely a detriment to the lower and middle classes.

While I agree that people should be wise in how they spend and save their money, and I don’t think that anyone should invest large amounts of money in the lottery, I feel that this person, and likeminded others–and I know you’re out there!–overlooked one really important thing: the lottery inspires us to dream.

Dreaming (aka-wishing, hoping, aspiring, striving) is a wonderful ability that humans possess. It allows anyone the opportunity to look beyond the reality of their own existence–be it a fulfilled one or one riddled with heartache–and imagine something different or the chance to better yourselfWhen you dream, you are filled with joy and optimism, even for the few moments you are engaged in the dream. Correlations have been made between optimistic outlooks and healthier minds, bodies and spirits, so how can that be all bad?

Some people choose to pursue their dreams, but if you don’t dream first, how would you know what it is that you’re in pursuit of or the course of action to take in order to fulfill that dream? Successful artists, scientists, entrepreneurs and athletes throughout the world all started with a dream. Through the success of some people in reaching their dreams, others are then allowed to reach their own. Imagine a successful business owner who now employs hundreds of people, some of whom were previously struggling to make ends meet. Maybe the business owner mentors another dreamer who also becomes a success! It’s a wonderful and fruitful cycle of dreaming and achievement.

Now, can dreaming win you the lottery? No.

Here is what the lottery does offer though, that no other pursuit (aka dream) can: you have as much of a shot at it as anyone else. Everyone who plays the lottery is on an even playing field. The payout won’t go to fastest runner, the most skilled craftsman, a talented songwriter or the most genetically beautiful person who reaches for this dream. Successful financial analysts have the same chance as nurses, ranchers, fry cooks or a person struggling to survive on disability payments. All you have to do is pick six numbers (or let fate chose them for you with a Quick Pick) and buy one ticket. For some people, all it took to realize their dreams was $2-3.

Book Excerpt: In Too Deep

Have I mentioned that I love this series? I think I have, at least once..maybe a few, anyway, I want to be sure everyone else knows about it. You can get Book 1 for free, book two is out and the third will be released in weeks. Check out the excerpt below from In Too Deep, Book 2 in the #Hacker series.

It’s time to get #HACKED with the newest YA novel by

Sherry D. Ficklin.

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One talented hacker.
One dead body.
One explosive secret.


When one reckless night leads Farris Barnett to the dead body of a
classmate, she’s as willing as everyone else to write it off as a
suicide. That is, until cryptic messages start coming in from someone
who knows the truth, and they want Farris on the case. Putting her
hacker skills to work, she begins to unravel the life of a victim who
might just have been the guiltiest of them all.
Her personal life in
turmoil, Farris turns to the only person she can trust to help her get
to the bottom of things—a friend on the verge of becoming much more.
Together, they confront a killer with a secret not even she could have
decoded.
The biggest bombs, the ones that do the most damage, are the ones you never see coming.

Grab your copy today!

AMAZONIBOOKSBARNES_NOBLE

ebook - in too deep

Read an excerpt from In Too Deep:

The water isn’t warm, but it’s not exactly cold either. It’s the temperature of a bathtub you’ve been sitting in for too long. For a moment, I’m too disoriented to do anything but hold my breath. Then dread sets in and I kick for the surface, breaking it for only a second before a pair of hands pushes me back under. I open my eyes, but everything is blurred, bubbles and distortion.

Adrenaline flooding my veins like fire, I thrash and kick wildly, trying to pry his hands off me. It’s my nightmare all over again. My lungs burn, convulsing with the need to draw breath. I struggle, but I can feel my body growing heavy and I’m sinking, deeper into the bright blue water. The last of my breath escapes in a rush of bubbles, rising to the surface without me. There’s a sound in my ears. It sounds like the crashing of the ocean, far away and close at the same time.

Don’t let go, a voice whispers.

I want to cry because the voice is smooth and familiar. It’s my mother’s voice.

Don’t let go.

My body shudders, convulsing as it fights to find oxygen. The hands release me, but I can’t find the strength to push to the surface. My legs are stone, pulling me toward the bottom of the pool. Finally unable to hold it back any longer, I take a breath and water fills my lungs. It’s a pain like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Even as my body rebels against the foreign substance, I slip further and further away.

Don’t let go.

In the dim, fading light, I see Cole’s face above me. I don’t even know if it’s real or just the last, desperate wishes of my mind. I’m not sure how I find the strength, but I manage to reach up, stretching my hand upward in the water.

***

Book 1 In the #HACKER series is now FREE on all platforms! So if you haven’t already, grab your free e-book today!

ebook - Playing with fire

Book 3 in the #HACKER series releases in e-book Feb. 8th 2016. You can pre-order your copy today.

Ebook - Digital Horizon

2016: The Year in Review

I know that it seems a bit early for me to reflect on my successes for 2016, but in all honesty, I’m feeling like I may already be on the downhill slide for the year. I set some realistic goals for myself this year and have pretty much failed to dazzle myself with even a mediocre effort. 

Here is a look at some of my goals and stunning lack of progress:

1. Get caught up in my work tasks so that every day doesn’t feel like such a struggle. Given that this is the first of the year, as well as the end of a work cycle, there are a number of other tasks that have to be done, in addition to my regular duties, which he led to more things to do & pressure to accomplish them. 

2. Make time to meditate. (See #1) The work tasks have prevented me from carving out time to mediate and I find it impossible to relax when I know I have so much work waiting for me. 

3. Organize & maintain my work space. When I’m in fully crazed work mode organization falls by the wayside. (See #1)

4. Get more exercise in an effort to ease stress. Again, the crazy number of hours I’m working, prevents me from carving out time to exercise because every minute I’m not working seems to get me further behind (refer again to #1). 

5. Eat healthy. I really stuck to this, for a solid three days. And then, well (see #1). 

6. Do more writing. (You know how this goes by now.)

So, there we go. My year at a glance. I’m feeling really accomplished and healthy now. I’ve also been bathing in sarcasm, and then drinking that bath water! Oh, right, that goal–to drink more–right on point with that one! Cheers to the new year *hiccup*

Book Review: IN TOO DEEP by Sherry Ficklin

TROUBLE IS ONLY A KEYSTROKE AWAY…

ebook - in too deep

In Too Deep
#HACKER Book 2

One talented hacker.
One dead body.
One explosive secret.

Life for Ferris Barnett is, well, complicated.
Her boyfriend has moved, her father has been assigned to an active duty station in Turkey, and one impulsive act leads her to a shocking discovery. A classmate’s body has washed ashore and his death has been listed as a suicide.
Soon, Ferris receives an anonymous message indicating that the death may not have been a suicide after all, but that he was killed, and that someone in her school may likely be a murderer. Ferris once again has to utilize her amazing and seemingly innate hacking skills to solve the mystery.
This time she delves into the secret—and surprising—life of a classmate who had never seemed more than a kind and quiet high-school student.

The second book in the #Hacker series is just as good—maybe even better—than the first. Ferris is still one of the wittiest characters I’ve read lately, a true snark-master. She’s smart, tough and not afraid to do what it takes to help others. Who doesn’t love that kind of female character?
All of the computer and hacking details still blow my mind and prove how thoroughly Sherry Ficklin must have researched the subject.
In Too Deep has a good flow, the action doesn’t seem to slow, each turn of the plot flows into another. I have to admit that this time, I only slightly guessed at “who did it” but the revelation was so much deeper than I’d imagined.
But, don’t take a deep, relaxing breath when you’ve discovered what really happened to Ferris’s classmate because there’s one more bombshell waiting at the end and I am counting the days until I can get my hands on book three.

*I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. No remuneration was exchanged

 

Cover Reveal:Digital Horizons by Sherry Ficklin

HACKER SERES

The #Hacker Novels by Sherry

D. Ficklin have gotten a lot of attention since the first book Playing With Fire released in October. Clean Teen

Publishing also announced the release of In Too Deep at the end of November. Now, we are excited to

share the official cover reveal for Digital Horizon, the third book in the #Hacker

Series that will release in February 2016.  Take a look at this awesome new cover

and leave us a line or two with your thoughts on it. Also, if you haven’t started

reading this young adult mystery series, you can start today with a free digital copy

of Playing With Fire.

DIGITAL HORIZON

Ebook - 

Digital Horizon

ADD TO GOODREADS

No spoilers here. If you wish to see the synopsis for Digital Horizon start

click your mouse and start highlighting here: 

One wants justice.

One wants redemption.

One just wants revenge.

Still reeling from her devastating loss, Farris is barely

holding it together when she’s approached by a covert government agency. The IDC

is recruiting the best hackers in the country to form a team capable of tracking down

and thwarting cyber terrorists. When they make her an offer she can’t refuse—a

shot at catching the people responsible for the death of her father—she’s all in. But

success will mean forging new alliances, betraying the people she loves, and trusting

an old enemy. If she succeeds, she might finally get the closure she needs. If she fails,

the digital world will crumble at her feet, putting thousands of lives at risk and

exposing the world’s most dangerous secrets.

In the dark web, where anything can be bought and

sold, this talented young hacker just might have to sell her soul to get what she’s

after.

The question is, who’s buying?

End highlight. Did you see the text? 

PLAYING WITH FIRE IS FREE!

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AMAZON / BARNES &

NOBLE / iBOOKS / KOBO / SMASHWORDS

One brilliant young hacker. One experimental government aircraft. One chance to

keep it all from going up in flames.

Still recovering from her troubled past, Farris is no stranger to change. But when the

military transfers her father across the country to an experimental aircraft

squadron, settling in to a new life is the least of her problems. As a series of

apparent computer glitches threaten the security of the fleet and the blame falls on

her father, she decides to put her computer skills to use digging up the truth. Soon

she’s drawn into the perilous world of a hacker who is determined to ground the

fleet—at any cost.

When all signs lead to someone close to her as the mastermind, Farris will have to

burn more than bridges to get to the truth. She will have to risk her fragile new life

to uncover the identity of the cyber criminal before they can escalate from harmless

tampering… to all out murder.

 IN TOO DEEP

ebook - in too 

deep

AMAZON / NOOK / iBOOKS / KOBO / SMASHWORDS

WATCH THE TRAILER:

ABOUT SHERRY D. FICKLIN:

WEBSITE / FACEBOOK /

TWITTER / INSTAGRAM

Sherry-FicklinSherry is a full time writer from Colorado and the

author of over a dozen novels for teens and young adults including the best selling

Stolen Empire series. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a

large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other.

That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is

only seen in blurry photographs.

Sherry also writes New Adult fiction under the pen name Ranae Glass and is a

contributing writer for fangirlish.com.


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#PitchWars 2015: One Week In

(This is a post that appeared on another site in August 2015. I am slowly fazing out that site and relocating this post. As an update: I did NOT make it to the mentor round of PitchWars… c’est la vie)
Last week I, along with 1,590 other writers, entered a little thing called PitchWars. We had spent weeks preparing. We reviewed, edited, polished and then submitted a small portion of our lovingly crafted tomes to be reviewed by potential mentors. All of this was done with the hope of being selected as one of the “chosen” who will receive the guidance of another writer so that we can be sure we have a manuscript that’s well crafted and ready to be submitted to potential agents.
The wait has been long and excruciating as it is with anything that I’m excited about. First, I had to wait weeks for the submission date. Now we are waiting until September 2, when the mentors choices will be announced. Each mentor will pick one person/writer/mentee and work with them for 2 months as the mentee gets their novel revised until it sparkles.
I’m a naturally optimistic person. I’m generally surprised every time my lotto numbers don’t come up. Every time I go into something I imagine the best possible outcome in vivid detail (except for my Nobel Prize accetance speech, because I suck at public speaking and I’m sure to babble unintelligibly when the time comes).  So, going into #PitchWars I was feeling confident, prepared and like this was going to be my moment.
The Optimism DanceSLXLM

 Optimism is a tough thing to maintain though. At some point during the long wait–Day 2, I think it was–self-doubt crept in. I reviewed my novel again. Cut another 1,000 words, reorganized some chapters, and tightened up my word choice and dialogue.
Then catastrophe struck. I’d taken the word of some other writers, novice as well as published, and experimented with the “Track Changes” feature in Word. I thought that I’d hidden all of the changes and that every chapter of my novel had been saved to an entirely new manuscript. I saw a post on Twitter in which someone made the statement, “nobody really knows how to hide Track Changes”. I should have known then but it took a day or two to realize that my entire novel still had the glaring red edits that had been made. Utter humiliation.
The Dream Cannot SurviveSMXLL

Even though my optimism has taken a huge Rousey to the right temple, I’m still excited about PitchWars and the entire process…including the wait. What a great community of people, the mentors and potential mentees, alike. The feed is full encouragement, commiseration and fun. It’s nice to have 1,590 other people who are as excited about something as I am. As much as I know they love me, when I talk about Pitch Wars to my family they get glassy eyed and back out the door…
SMXLL

So, the highlight of this has been in finding a group of people, who are all in the same boat and are willing to lift each other up when needed. Mostly, I’m happy to know that there are people out there who totally groove to my kind of beat and that I’ve found them! Cheers to all of those who are chosen for the 2015 PitchWars and those that had the guts to enter.
SMXLL

 

#PitchWars 2015 Mentee Bio

(This is a blog post that was on another site which I am slowly doing away with. I am simply moving this post. As an update— I did NOT win or make it to the mentor phase for 2015)
For those of you having a “What the….?” moment, allow me to explain. #PitchWars is a Twitter contest for writers and I am creating this bio as a fun and informational way to pass on interesting (or not!) facts about me to potential mentors.
Anyone already bored?
SMXLL

 About me in general: I’m originally from Oregon but I live in Colorado.  I am married and have three boys, aged grumpy teen, sweet & surly pre-teen and spastic second-grader. I am also lord & ruler to three dogs, a cat and a semi-neurotic feline-type creature.
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MLXLS
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SLXLM
MLXLS
Random things that may have warped my personality:
I have a well-earned fear of bears, though I find Teddy Bears to be tolerable most times. My family has been sought out by bears for most of my life and I’m convinced they have a personal vendetta against me.
SLXLM

I am a nurse. I’ve worked in cardiac care units, ER and home care.
SLXLM

I wear my sunglasses at night because 1) I am a child of the 80’s, 2) I convinced myself at a young age that wearing sunglasses reduces squinting and thus, wrinkles, and 3) because I honestly just forget to take them off
SLXLM

I am a black belt in June Fan Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee shout out) and am testing for my 2nd degree black belt (= 3rd black belt) this fall.
SLXLM

In my younger days I competed against–and beat–men. I once knocked an opponent unconscious during a tournement. That was long before Rhonda Rousey, yo. (I felt guilty for weeks, though!)
I possess an extreme amount of will power. I once dieted for an entire day.
SLXLM

I worked for a circus once. OK, it was one day. I sold tickets and popcorn, but being a carnie is still in my skill set.
SLXLM

I also worked at a truck stop and lived in a tent. Not a high point in my life but it was an adventure.
SLXLM

I have been bitten by humans more times than I’ve been bitten by animals (but not in a fun or sexy way).
SLXLM

About my #PitchWars manuscript and dream mentor:
My manuscript is a YA historical fantasy about a princess who was raised to be queen but finds herself betrayed by her family in their quest to overthrow another king.
I am hoping for a mentor who will be as passionate about this book as I am. Someone who can share my vision, be brutally honest about the changes that I need to make as well as what already works.
And…if chosen, I will video tape my happy dance for all the world to see
SLXLM

The Writer’s Life: Highs and Lows

(Note: this blog appeared on another site, which I am slowly doing away with, I am simply relocating the post)
I’ve learned a few things about being a writer over the past few weeks. They are things that I’ve known for a while, in theory, but over the course of two weeks, experienced in vivid detail.
The first is how good it feels to have shared my work with someone else and gotten positive feedback. For the record, it feels Uh-mazing in fact. To clarify, it wasn’t glowing praise about what a fabulous and gifted writer I am, realistically I think that someday my mom will read my novel and say those words, but I don’t expect it from anyone else. Actually, my mom’s more of a realist (a trait we share) so, even she won’t gush quite that much.
Any way, I received some very nice and enthusiastic feedback with regards to a contest I entered. I didn’t win but it was a huge thing to have someone say positive things about my work, and to be enthusiastic about it. It’s amazing how a little bit of good news can put the boogey back in your day.
SLXLM

The next week though, was a different story. I had submitted a portion (about the same as I had submitted to the contest) during a webinar. The seminar included a critique by an agent. What I got was about a 10 line response that said my dialogue was stilted, descriptions cliche and that there was no character development.
It hurts us, precious.
SLXLM

So, I wallowed, went through anger, denial, bargaining, a pint of rocky road, a bottle of White ZIn and then, finally, acceptance.
SMXLL

I emerged, ready to carry on and submit again. It’s the way of the writer, after all. There will be no hope of success if I choose to give up and give in to disappointment this early in the game. So, write on fellow aspiring authors, write on.
SLXLM

 

Book Review: Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

Until We Meet AgainUntil We Meet Again by Renee Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Spending her summer away from her friends is not what Cassandra had in mind. To make matters worse, she and her family, are spending the summer in a ritzy beach community, a place that Cass definitely doesn’t feel she belongs, compliments of her step-dad.

One night, just when the summer seems like it will never end, Cass meets a handsome stranger on the beach. Lawrence is handsome, polite, and quotes poetry. He is also from 1925.

Through some strange phenomenon, Cass and Lawrence are able to meet, but only on the beach. Each of them must return to their own home life, and their own era, when they part.

While researching the boy who has quickly come to claim her heart, Cass discovers that Lawrence’s life is at risk and together—across the span of time—they must find out how to save him from an unknown danger.

Until We Meet Again is a sweet and enticing story. I was immediately drawn in and found myself entranced through the entire book. I am a sucker for a romance and was on the edge of my seat at every attempt Cass and Lawrence made to bridge the gap of time to be together while also trying to solve/prevent his death. Just a beautifully written story.

View all my reviews

Cleaning My Desk. Or Not

I had a very productive day. I cleaned my office.

Actually, I cleared off my desk. 
Technically, I just went through a stack of papers on my desk.


Ok, it was a sticky note. It was laying on top of my desk and I threw it in the trash. Quit judging me.
For the record, I also wrote this blog post today…On that sticky note.

 

NaNo-Why?-Mo

Every November for the past several years I’ve vowed to jump into the fray and do a little thing called National Novel Writing Month–or NaNoWriMo.

For those who haven’t heard about this little gem, each November a world full of creative and driven writers from various countries, lifestyles and representing every genre imaginable band together with one goal: write an entire novel of at least 50,000 words (or an equal word count in short stories, poetry, etc) in a month.

That’s right: an entire novel. In 30 days.

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Why? Well, the simple answer is: to win.

And what do we win? Nothing. Zip. Nada. Zilch. xtitniilwufffpf2cc

Except for the pleasure of being able to say that we, are writers, and have a nice, shiny, new 50,000 word novel to show for it.

In addition to the bragging rights, the winners of NaNoWriMo get the chance to have fun (albeit, the kind of fun that usually involves being alone in a room while lobbing encouragement at your new friends over the Internet) and to bond with thousands of people who have joined you in your quest.

It’s a combination of the quest, the success and the comradery that have always lured me to NaNoWriMo.

I’ve had several years in which I signed up, some in which I even wrote something. One year I proudly patted myself on the back and complemented my determination at having written twice as much as I had the year before. Truth be told, that accomplishment only amounted to 6,400 words, but damn-it, I’d doubled my previous word count, and that was an improvement, and nobody would tell me otherwise.

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So, after so many miserable and half-assed attempts to conquer this great white thing that is NaNoWriMo, I was determined that this year…I would succeed.
Right now, I am only half-way into my quest. The most beautiful part of this journey is that 1) I’m still writing, 2) I’m close to where I should be with my word count and 3) this amazing story I’ve had about bootleggers in the 1930’s is finally in development.

So, if you don’t see or hear from me for the rest of the month, I’m on a quest and at the end of it, I hope to be wearing a crown fashioned with the words of my latest accomplishment….

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Nightmare On Query Street 2015: #TeamMonsters

My writing journey has been full of stumbling blocks recently. While I recognize that writing, more specifically the path to becoming a published writer, is full of disappointments there are times when the “no’s” become overwhelming and overshadow all of the good feedback. The cumulative effect is that sometimes you wonder if it’s time to quit grasping at the high ropes and embrace the fall.

Despite my recent frustration (not to mention soul crushing disappointment, self-doubt and periods of wailing), I entered a writing contest called Nightmare on Query Street.

The 250 initial entrants have been whittled down to two teams of 20.
Today, this happened…(by the way, my novel is entitled THE LAMB) super secret link to amazing stuff

and now I’m all…

My optimism tank is full again. I am filled with enthusiasm. I am feeling recharged and creative. I am ready to go. I have…how many days to turn in my revised entry?

OK…this can be done. Right? No really…right?!

Cover Reveal: In Too Deep by Sherry Ficklin

TROUBLE IS ONLY A KEYSTROKE AWAY…

I’m very excited to reveal the cover for book 2 in the #HACKER series,

IN TOO DEEP.

ebook - in too deep

 

About the book:

One talented hacker.

One dead body.

One explosive secret.

When one reckless night leads Farris Barnett to the dead body of a classmate, she’s as willing as everyone else to write it off as a suicide. That is, until cryptic messages start coming in from someone who knows the truth, and they want Ferris on the case. Putting her hacker skills to work, she begins to unravel the life of a victim who might just have been the guiltiest of them all.

Her personal life in turmoil, Farris turns to the only person she can trust to help her get to the bottom of things—a friend on the verge of becoming much more. Together, they confront a killer with a secret not even she could have decoded.

The biggest bombs, the ones that do the most damage, are the ones you never see coming.

You can find the first chapter of IN TOO DEEP inside the first book of the #HACKER series, PLAYING WITH FIRE releasing October 27th!

Grab your copy of Playing With Fire HERE

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About the author:

Sherry is a full time writer from Colorado and the author of over a dozen novels for teens and young adults including the best selling Stolen Empire series. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.
Sherry also writes New Adult fiction under the pen name Ranae Glass and is a contributing writer for fangirlish.com. You can find her at her official website, http://www.sherryficklin.com, or stalk her on her Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/sherry.ficklin.

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The Good News, the Bad News, the Good..

A wonderful horrific thing happened in our house one morning several weeks ago. We woke up to find one of the bathrooms had flooded during the night. The damage seemed minor. I cleaned up the water and went back to my Netflix queue Sunday chores. An hour later my husband called from the basement, “What the (your choice of expletive) is this?” “This” as it turned out was the little stream of water that had run under the tile in the bathroom floor, around the insulation, through the drywall and was pooling under the carpet pad as he stood watching…and cussing.

I was nervous as the damage was tallied. Every time they found moisture in another location I prayed for total demolition hoped that the area wouldn’t also be torn up. The hideous kitchen tiles have to be torn out? Oh, too bad. We need all new carpet in the basement? C’est la vie. Yes sir, I agree we should replace those lighting fixtures, and put up new drywall, and paint the walls a decent color. What do you mean the hardwood dried out just fine? I demand that you check again!

It isn’t that I hate my house, it’s just that it was built in the 1980’s, and hasn’t been upgraded much since then. When we moved in we had plans to slowly upgrade and modernize. Since then we’ve, well, we did get some appliances, new lighting fixtures and window coverings.  But, there is a long list of 1980’s era touches that have endured. We have blond oak. It’s everywhere: floors, doors, trim, cabinets. I know that it’s good wood so I have reconciled my feelings about the oak. One thing I am less tolerant of: brass. It’s everywhere. It’s in the kitchen, some of the lighting fixtures, around the gas fireplace, I even have…wait for it…a swan’s neck faucet in the (another 80’s left-over) garden tub! As i said, it’s dated.

And now, we have an insurance issue and everything is about to be updated. At once! My head is spinning with the timing of installing new drywall, painting, installing carpet, removing tile, installing tile. Oh, and making the updates that we had always planned to make at the right time during the renovation, which means….we are doing the work ourselves. (Also because all the contractors in town are booked for months!). There is nothing like wanting something so bad that you seemingly wish it into existence. It’s going to be a long summer.

Robbing From Peter…

This post appears on my other blog…a way, way, different beast.

I felt that it was a good post to share here as it represents a big leap in my ability to be brave and put myself out there. So, here it is:

Going Live…and Going Out on a Wire

There are a lot of ideas in my head. Those things fall along the the lines of, “one of these days, I’m going to…”. Well, today I am going to go ahead and do one of those things.
I’ve been struggling, like all aspiring writers do, with when I can actually call myself a writer. For some reason we are hesitant to do that because it begs the inevitable question, “have you had anything published?” And then, if we still haven’t published the great American novel, we sulk away feeling like we haven’t really accomplished enough to be so bold as to say, “I am a writer.”
So, here’s the story. I have not sold a novel. I am not under representation. But…I write!!! Most of my waking hours are spent writing or thinking about writing. I have more ideas than I will probably ever have time to develop. I have euthanized more story lines and characters than I have created. And I have faith in myself. I believe that I am a good writer and that if I keep practicing the craft, learning about the business and if I endure, I will succeed. You see, I know, deep within the depths of my soul, that I am a writer.
I have been published. I’ve sold poems to small publications, had a short story in a local paper, covered sporting events for a local paper, I’ve written internet content and even sold an article to (cue the dramatic music…) Readers Digest. But, that doesnt make me a writer.
What makes me a writer is my determination,  my passion and all the little voices in my head that are creatively channeled into dialogue (otherwise they’re just voices, and that isn’t something we are encouraged to boast about).
With this declaration, I am about to do one of my “one of these days” promises and let my FaceBook family, friends and contacts know about my website and my FaceBook page that is dedicated to me…the writer.
Deep breath….and done!

Embracing the Change

The past few months have brought a lot of changes to our home. Some has resulted in relief, some in absolute chaos, and one in sad acceptance of how tenuous our grasp on life can be.

At the top of our stress list for the past fourteen months was having the paternal figure living with us. Assume that there is one person in the world whom you recall having seen a few times per year (and also assume that you and this person are polar opposites) and that person falls upon hard times and you are their only salvation. Not only does that person move in, but then blatantly disrespects the rules of the house and the lessons you are trying to instill in your kids. Yeah, it was that awesome.
The good news is, he’s gotten his own apartment now and our peaceful semi-peaceful mojo has filled the house again.

In August I was faced with the traumatic reality that my forty-*****th (number redacted to protect the vanity of the blogger) birthday was approaching. Each day seemed to bring another gray hair, another wrinkle and some other mortifying symptom of aging. On August 15, as I was wallowing in my own self-absorbed personal aging crisis, my grandmother passed away. I not only had my ass slammed to the proverbial mat, but I had to get back up, get in the car with my husband and drive to the mountains to find the parental units, my brother and my kids who were camping and couldn’t be reached by phone. Few things suck as bad as having to tell your mother that her mom has passed away and having to deliver your kids through their first experience with death.
The most recent change has brought another stressful situation to an end. Three years ago we enrolled our kids in a local charter school. We’d heard great things about it: kids learning Spanish & Latin in the third grade, playing in band in the fifth grade, reading classic literature and a focus on education. There were some draw-backs (shorter summers, school uniforms, etc) but the benefits of a classic education model seemed to outweigh them all. And so, we enrolled them. Right away our kids hated it. There was no support for kids coming in from schools with lower (née regular) expectations and our kids were missing some basic knowledge that their classmates possessed. They fell behind in a few subjects and struggled. It became apparent that nobody was interested in helping kids learn, they were expected to sink or swim, and our kids were sinking. Not only was the school failing them academically, there was no personal support, no interaction between teachers and students that would foster a pride in the school. Everyone, including parents, were expected to tow the line and never question the process. Yet we did. We questioned. And we finally found the answer at other schools. Our kids are now back in the public school system. In the first six school days, my middle schooler has gotten after-school help in math and band on four different days. My youngest is reading far better and all of them come home happy and do their homework without trouble. The stress level in our house has plummeted and we are finally optimistic about school.
All of the changes, the good and the bad, have forced us to evolve as a family and our evolution has been a joy.

The Rules of Battle in a Disgruntled Home

This is what made me laugh the hardest all week, and it isn’t going to win me any “Mother of the Year” awards (and let’s be honest, that ship sailed long ago!).

The Middle and the Baby were engaged in a little after-dinner sparring match (we are all in martial arts, it’s what we do, we find joy in physically punishing each other, it’s our love language). The rules were set by me, or rather they developed as the battle went on. No elbows. No knees. No nut shots. Other than that, expect to get back what you give.

It was a truly amazing battle. They were throwing some stunning combinations, working on blocking and counter offensive moves. The Middle tried to restrain The Baby, who dropped his stance, broke the clench and kicked back as he stepped away. The kick landed squarely on the upper middle thigh of the The Middle. The Middle dropped to the floor (he’s our more dramatic child) hands lodged between his legs and began to roll on his back while telling his brother, “you’re not supposed to kick me in the nuts.” To which The Baby replied, “I didn’t kick you in the nuts, I kicked you in the labia!”
And that’s when I left the room, laughing uncontrollably and trying, through tears of laughter, to tell The Hubbin’ that he did a piss poor job of having “the talk” and he’d better get in there and explain to his sons that they cannot kick or be kicked in the labia. Those are just the simple rules of battle in our home

Your Horror is Justified

In general, when you mention going to the dentist, people recoil in horror. Most people react much as they would if being invited to an afternoon of listening to fingernails being scraped across a chalkboard or, maybe, water boarding.
I think that people really are missing the enjoyment that comes from dental work. No other stories can compare to ones involving a public mishap with a cotton filled mouth that still hasn’t regained sensation. It’s my opinion that the dentist is the source of more good laughs than any other professional.
The Baby is in afternoon Kindergarten and so our dental appointments have been scheduled together. Today, he sat in a chair next to me, reading a Superman story to me while my teeth were scrapped, poked, prodded and cleaned. When my cleaning was done, and while reveling in the minty freshness of the moment, I leaned toward the Baby and asked him, “How about a nice fresh kiss?” He recoiled in horror. The dental hygienist also became very quiet and the room filled with an awkward and heavy air. I’ll admit that my feelings were a little hurt that my youngest would not only refuse to kiss me in public (I already have a 12 year old who is denying me public affection) but would react with such disgust at the request. I was also indignant that the hygienist was avoiding eye contact and acting like I had committed some reprehensible act in demonstrating love for my child.
“Why won’t you give your mom a kiss?”
“I’ll give you a kiss,” he said, “but not a French kiss.”
And suddenly I realized how a simple unclear word had turned me from a loving mom into a sick predator. And I realized that their horror was justified.