Tag Archive for astraea press

Blog Hopping today!

My regular readers know I don’t actually talk about the craft of writing much on this blog, but it can be fun to participate in the occasional blog hop! So today’s post will be your rare chance to peek into my writing window–heck, it’s the rare chance for me to do the same. I’m not talking about food and drink today, but the world of speculative fiction.

This blog hop is taking place to promote Sucker Literary Vol. III, which looks to be a fun collection of paranormal YA short stories edited by Hannah Goodman.

1-FINALBookCoverPreviewLiterary Suckers

Per its Goodreads page, it’s “Eleven stories that delve into the depths of our experience—driven by fierce and untouched love that makes us seek, lose, fear, desire, long, reflect, survive, steal, protect, fall, and confess.” You can check out the full summary on that page.

I was invited to participate in this blog hop by a new critique partner, Blanca Florido, who gives great feedback and is sloshing her way through her final round of edits on the first book in her YA fantasy Faerie Tales trilogy. As Blanca wrote me,

She has written three musicals and is currently working on a political thriller. Blanca has written a sci-fi children’s cartoon and is planning a picture book for young children. At one time, she thought that was quite a lot writing to do but has recently become intoxicated with the power of a new software package that keeps track of ideas. Imagine her surprise when she discovered she had no less than seven additional ideas for novels she’d like to write, eight screenplays, two more musicals, three short stories, three TV shows, and a partridge in a pear tree! Exhausted at merely listing them, she’s napping now.

Thanks for the invite, Blanca! You can read her answers to the blog hop questions here. Now to answer those questions on my own writing…

1. What am I working on?

Well, I’m glad you ask, because I’m never quite sure from one minute to the next. I have two novels that I’m fleshing out and writing first drafts for, which takes me quite a long time. One novel is post-apocalyptic, but it’s not about the wastelands we typically associate with such fare. Instead, it follows Eloise, a search-and-rescue agent, as she negotiates life and love through the constant barrage of natural disasters that Earth’s climate has become. The second is a YA novel about a pair of fairytale-monster bounty hunters.

But that’s not all! I always have several short stories running through my head. In addition to a few resting cozily in slush piles at various magazines, I’m nearly done with the most recent versions of Treasure, a fantasy fable, and Good Genes, a modern-day horror story. Of course, I also have one page written on that carnival idea I thought up last month…

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

As I’ve had several writing friends tell me recently, so I suppose there must be truth to it, I take a unique perspective on typical speculative fiction plots. For instance, Bother, my urban fantasy short published in Bull Spec, is less about the dragon terrorizing city streets and more about the domestic issues facing a young couple and the futility of fighting when you can’t win.

"Bother" had the cover of Bull Spec #5.

“Bother” made the cover of Bull Spec #5.

Some people love that; others wish there was more dragon.

My horror is more of a throwback to the Twilight Zone style than it is modern-day gore or anti-heroes. I hope my fantasy novel, currently seeking publication, does a good job of injecting social theory and feminism into what could be a traditional quest and chosen-one tale. Well, if the chosen one were actually a chosen three in which one of them had murdered another one’s brother…oh, and they’re being chased by a spiritual menance that can eat people from the inside-out. Did I not mention that part already?

3. Why do I write what I do?

I’ve always been a storyteller–I have the giant, handwritten, marker-colored whale storybook to prove it.

becca whale story

Fantasy captured me young, with C.S. Lewis of course, but even before Narnia, the picture book the Runaway Fairy had my affections. Escapism fiction serves a wonderful, and needed, purpose in our society, and I am happy to contribute to it. I have always thought speculative fiction to be some of the finest writing out there on the human condition. I saw myself in Polly Plummer who looked in the White Witch’s pools and I always will.

I won’t lie, though, I also write speculative fiction because there’s less pressure to get the exact details right–which is why my fantasy is other world, but my science fiction is less about space travel and more about aliens in your own backyard. I hate research. I do it only under duress, by which I mean when the stories refuse to progress without it.

4. How does my writing process work?

Not by listening to music! Learning that other writers often have soundtracks for their work was an interesting discovery for me when I first started doing blog hops to promote my romance novella, Maya’s Vacation. I prefer silence to let my thoughts flow.

Maya's Vacation, published by Astraea Press.

Maya’s Vacation, published by Astraea Press.

More to the point, however, I am 99% pantser. I try to outline, but I don’t have the whole story in mind when I begin writing. Most of the time, I have images from an actual dream or a lost train of thought that start my process. Often, those images are the beginning, end, or climax of the story, but I don’t know yet how I’ll get to them through plot. I’ll try to get those images down in scene forms, and then I’ll discover my main character–or a few main characters, depending on the story. The character’s journey is far more important to me than the actual plot, which is both my strength and my biggest flaw.

As I write, more ideas for the plot jump to mind, and I keep track of those through handwritten lists, a blackboard, or Word documents, whatever is handiest. Once I have a lot of scenes written, I think about how to connect them in the plot that’s taking shape, and eventually, that’s a whole short story or a book. Or in the case of my novel currently seeking publication, it’s two books I had to cut down to one! I spend a lot of time editing as I go through my first draft, a big no-no that I blatantly ignore, and then do what needs doing to make the next and subsequent drafts strengthened in plot, finesse, action, etc.

It’s not the most efficient writing method, but I don’t know how a story’s going to go until I write it. And god forbid I do any research ahead of time to make it go faster.

Done! I hope my answers have entertained you. Mainly, I realized I haven’t had a vivid dream that inspired a story in a while…but I shouldn’t be complaining. I have too many half-written already!

Next Monday, this blog hop is leaping over to writers Krysten Hager, Margaret S. McGraw, and Katrina Rasbold. Krysten is one of Astraea Press’s newest authors, and I’m happy to welcome her into our fold of clean romance writers. Her YA romance debuts in July. Here’s her biography:

Krysten Lindsay Hager is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. Her debut novel, TRUE COLORS, will be out June 17th from Astraea Press. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows.

And a link so you can check out her blog on 5/17.

Margaret S. McGraw is a writing critique partner of mine. We may have exchanged a few words–or a few novels’ worth of them–over how to stop head-hopping while I was in Durham. Her bio:

Margaret S. McGraw’s imagination draws on her lifelong love of science fiction, fantasy, and anthropology. Her education and experience range from anthropology and communication through web design and IT management. Margaret lives in North Carolina with her daughter and an array of cats, dogs, Macs, and PCs, and too many unfinished craft projects. Her writing includes a daily blog, several short stories currently in circulation for publication, and two novels in progress: Mira’s Children is a YA science fiction adventure, and OceanSong is a fantasy begun in the NaNoWriMo 2012 challenge.

For more details on her writing and to see her answer these questions on 5/19, visit her daily blog at margaretsmcgraw.blogspot.com.

And finally, Katrina Rasbold is one of the fastest and most engaging writers I know. She’s written over twenty books in the amount of time I’ve written a third of one, so you can bet hearing about her writing process will be interesting! Here’s her bio:

Katrina Rasbold is a prolific writer in many different genres.  She is the author of the popular Seven Sisters of Avalon fiction series, Spiritual Childbirth, Get Your Book Published, Leaving Kentucky in the Broad Daylight, An Insider’s Guide to the General Hospital Fan Club Weekend, several fictional novelettes, and a large number of metaphysical instructional books. Her book Energy Magic held the #1 position in the category of Paganism on Amazon.com for many weeks in 2013 and 2014.

Katrina is a professional life coach with a Ph.D in Religion and a minor in psychology. She is happily married and has six children, to whom she personally gave birth. She lives on a remote mountain top in California with her husband, two of those six children (the rest are grown), three dogs, a turtle named God, several chickens that are all named Helen, and Elvis, a slightly neurotic shih tzu.

You can find Katrina’s blog here.

Can’t wait to see what they have to share!


“Warm Your Heart” Christmas Blog Tour from Astraea Press (and prizes!)

Hello readers, I have a guest post for you today. Astraea Press, publisher of my romance novella, Maya’s Vacation, is having a blog tour to promote all of their winter holidays books. Today, I’m playing host! So read on for a message from Astraea Press and a synopsis of a pair of Astraea’s holiday books. You’ll also find out how to into to win a free $50 giftcard from Astraea and a free Astraea book of your choice!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Astraea Press! We love this time of year!Is it the cooler weather? The fires in the fireplace? Family gatherings? Or our sweethearts under the mistletoe…. We do love mistletoe 😉

Whatever the cause, we want to celebrate Christmas and this holiday season with you. This is one of the many stops on a two-week tour. Check out the rafflecopter at our website or the end of this post for a chance to win a free Astraea Press Christmas book of YOUR choice (eep!). There is also a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

I want to thank Rebecca and all the other blogs who have offered to help.
All of their facebook pages and/or twitter are on the rafflecopter. I hope you
get a chance to visit them all.

So… MERRY CHRISTMAS from Astraea Press and our authors. Thanks for a great year.

~Kelly from AP

Here is a Christmas book from bestselling author Patricia Kiyono:

The Christmas Phoenix by Patricia Kiyono

Jess Tate is trying to make a life for herself and her teenage son after her husband’s sudden death.  Running the family’s struggling landscape business in Northern Michigan has been hard work, and her son hasn’t been much help.  She’s managed to get by, learning to run the big equipment herself, but between snowplowing early in the mornings and working her daytime job in town, she often wonders if there will ever be more to life than endless work.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fiction Bragging – Feature Friday at Astraea Press

After the publication of Maya’s Vacation, I took part in the first Feature Friday story for Astraea Press. Feature Friday is a collaboration among a bunch of Astraea Press authors to write an ongoing story with three words as a starting point. Each Friday, a different author tackled the next leg of the story, taking it in whatever direction they wanted to. As you might imagine, my contribution managed to veer the story into the paranormal, just a little bit. The words that prompted us were llama, dating, and waterfall.

Our story mascot.

You can start the story from the beginning here, or you can just jump in for my contribution. Here’s your teaser of the story’s beginning, written by Cheryl Grey:

The house looked like half of a bleached orange, placed juicy side down in the shadow of a long, sloping hill. Detective Elleanor Sharpe slammed the door of her rental car, leaned against its hot metal, and kept staring. A geodesic dome, the guy at the gas station had called it as he’d given her directions, his chest thrust out as if proud he’d mastered the term. She’d caught him reading a Scooby Doo comic book, so he hadn’t mastered much else.

Grasslands and cacti faded into the distance in all directions, sliced through by the state road and caliche driveway, punctuated by lazy pump jacks, and weathered, leaning shacks. To the west, looming mesas shimmered in the heat haze. Behind the dome, a flock of sheep hid in the fold of a ravine, the hillside shading them from the afternoon sun. The sky was too dry and washed-out for even the wispiest of clouds.

Here is a snippet from my contribution, the fourth part in a five-part story:

Ellea felt like a vise had cinched her throat. The Natural Assembly was here . . . in Pecos?

Back in Dallas, she’d worked a case on the secretive church and its leader, Reverend Peter Staff. He—it was always a man who led these cults—was in his midfifties with brown hair so gelled a tornado couldn’t move a strand of it. She’d taken an instant disliking to him from the moment she offered her hand in greeting and he held it like a dead fish. The station had called her in to question him after an embezzling charge was leveled against the Natural Assembly by a disgruntled former parishioner. There were also complaints about beheaded chickens, but sacrificing animals was not against the law. Apparently, the church had moved to a smaller pond, perhaps to draw less attention, but they’d also moved on to bigger animals.

You can read the rest of mine here. And because convenience is important to us Americans, here is the entire story together in one post.

Interview Bragging — Promoting Maya’s Vacation

It has come. This is the last week I’m spending on bragging about Maya’s Vacation, my romance novella about a woman who has to decide if she wants to chance her heart on an old flame all while painting and eating her vacation away. This week, I’m sharing a few snippets of interviews I’ve done to promote Maya’s Vacation. I was interviewed at a couple of romance book and author sites. If you’ve ever wanted to learn a bit more about me or my romance novella, you should swing by them!

First up is I Am A Reader, Not A Writer from last June. Here is your teaser:

What is one book everyone should read? 
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. It is a beautiful book that blends religious striving, human suffering, cultural understanding, and language into a narrative about learning to live with aliens on another planet and learning to live with ourselves.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? 
Viennese Cafe Waltz—it was a specialty flavor done by Safeway Groceries’ store brand for a few years: chocolate covered hazelnuts in a cinnamon, vanilla, and mocha ice cream.
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? 
Eggs Goldenrod—cheese sauce over toast with sliced and grated hard-boiled eggs. Calories for the win!
Night owl or early bird? 
Very much a night owl. I get a lot of eye rolls when I say I wake up around 10 am…until I remind them that means I’m in bed around 3 am.
Skittles or M&Ms?
M&Ms, especially those new coconut ones. If they made those in dark chocolate, I’d be in heaven.
Next on the agenda is Astraea Press’s blog, where I did an interview the day of Maya’s Vacation‘s release.
A random fact about your story.
Scrabble is not a recommended matchmaking method.A random fact about you as an author. 

I’ve been writing stories since I mastered handwriting—though whether I’ve ever actually mastered cursive is up for debate. My first stories involved the La Brea Tar Pit and taking a ride on a unicorn with She-Ra. It was horror and fantasy from an early age.
Favorite line in the story (can be funny, romantic, etc).  
My favorite line in the story is actually the very last one, which I dreamed—or rather, I dreamed a version of it that needed some editing. But I can’t share that one! Instead, I’ll pick this: Maya thought that interesting, but Dean’s soothing voice, like jazz spilling out of a sidewalk café, distracted her from giving it any further consideration.
Since three is such a beautiful number in writing, I’ll end the interview bragging post with this snippet from Fridays Off the Wall at Joselyn Vaughn’s blog last year.
Joselyn: Who would you cast as the main characters in a movie of your latest book?
Rebecca: In Maya’s Vacation, the main character, Maya, is a woman in her early 50s. She has a salt-and-pepper bob and an intuition that guides her strongly. I could see Kathy Najimy playing her. Dean, the main romantic interest, is an artist of the same age, lanky, and has a mop of curly blonde hair. Richard Gere with long hair would be a fun choice and would get that emotional angst just right, but I’d love Viggo Mortenson also. Danny Devito would be a perfect actor for Maya’s bustling friend, John. Naomi and Wynona Judd would have great fun playing Opal and Esther Donnelly, a pair of randy widows, as long as they don’t mind dying their hair pink.
Joselyn: I love the idea of a not 20-something heroine.  We can find love at any age. What is your favorite line for your most recent book?
This is not from a book but from my short story, Apocalypse, published recently at Yesteryear Fiction. It is about a woman—a diviner, actually—who is noticed by someone else for the first time in her life, which makes her realize that she’s worth noticing: His face is alight with the reflection of something dazzling, something she has never seen but always been. From the novel, I can only give my second favorite line—my first is the last line of the book, and I don’t want to give that away! My second favorite is Maya thought that interesting, but Dean’s soothing voice, like jazz spilling out of a sidewalk café, distracted her from giving it any further consideration.
 Joselyn:  That is really nice imagery. Do you have any characters who keep bugging you for their own book? Will you give them one?
Rebecca: I assure you, both John and Opal from Maya’s Vacation are quite confident they are worthy of their own books, largely because they find themselves infinitely entertaining and think they are great catches to anyone of the opposite sex. The fact that I have no plans to do so simply mystifies them. Obviously, I’m not paying due attention to their charms, and they may be forced to try harder.

I hope you enjoyed those little tidbits on why I wrote Maya’s Vacation and just plain learning more about me. I can’t leave you without showing off that cover one more time and giving you links to where you can buy Maya’s Vacation for $1.99, now can I? Here’s where: Astraea Press, Amazon, or Barnes and Nobles.

And here’s that pretty little cover:

Fiction Bragging — Interview With Maya Holden

We are still on my first published book, Maya’s Vacation, in this week’s fiction bragging post, and we will be for a few more weeks — I did a number of interviews promoting it when it came out last March, so I plan to point you toward one each week. But this first one is not an interview with me. Instead, it’s an interview I did with the main character in Maya’s Vacation, Maya Holden. Perhaps she can interest you in her story.

Me: Maya, you seem like such a down-to-Earth woman, but tell me, how did you end up with a litter of ferrets?

Maya: Oh, that. [She waves it away with a giggle]. My husband — ex-husband, now, of course, but he was my husband  then — he never let me live that one down. What happened was that Meredith Viera one day on the Today Show had these long, furry animals I’d never seen before. They were so cute, I just had to get one. So I headed to the pet store that very afternoon, and what did I find but a mother ferret with a new litter of four babies! They were all so cute, no longer than my index finger, and I just couldn’t separate them. It felt like the right thing to do, taking them all home! Chuck turned bright red when he saw them, but he never did complain, not really. He’d been married to me too long! You might say I’m a creature of instinct.

Fiction Bragging – Win a copy of Maya’s Vacation! Bonus: Listen to Me Read From It!

For this installment of my Thursday bragging series, I’m giving away 5 copies of my e-book, Maya’s Vacation! What’s that? You like to win things? Well, entering to win is easy. Just leave a comment on this post by next Wednesday, 5/9, and I’ll reveal the winners on Thursday.  Not familiar with Maya’s Vacation? We can fix that easily!

Twenty-year-old Maya knew, as she watched Dean walk away from her front door, distraught at her silence and her father’s threats, that she would never love anyone with the intensity that she loved him. He was her painter, her artist, her soul mate and being apart from him hurt too much. She tucked those feelings away, determined to enjoy the safe and secure life her parents approved of: business school and a marriage to Chuck, a successful real estate agent.

Thirty years later, Chuck has cheated on and divorced her. But when he comes back, begging for reconciliation, Maya follows her intuition and takes a vacation to think it over. Her love of art, food, and wine combine at this retreat in the woods, and she prepares for a week of making new friends, tasting exquisite wines, and learning to paint again. What she hasn’t prepared for is the familiar voice she hears the first morning at camp . . . a voice that makes her skin tingle and brings back memories of who she used to be before Chuck. Has Maya buried her passion too deep to find love with Dean again.

You can also listen to me read from Maya’s Vacation, so if you’re interested in an excerpt, what better way to get one than by listening to the author speak for her characters? Each clip is about 3 and 1/2 minutes long, and you do need javascript enabled for the clips to work.

[audio:https://www.rebeccagomezfarrell.com/audio/mvexcerpt1.mp3] [audio:https://www.rebeccagomezfarrell.com/audio/mvexcerpt2.mp3]

Don’t want to wait to see if you won the contest? You can purchase Maya’s Vacation now in any e-book form direct from Astraea Press (direct from the publisher is where I get the biggest cut, hint hint), Amazon, and Barnes and Nobles.

Next week, along with the contest winners, I’ll share some of my favorite reviews of Maya’s Vacation. There are some great ones out there!


Fiction Bragging – Maya’s Vacation

My bragging series has finally brought us to the publication of my first book, Maya’s Vacation!

It is a romance novella, reaching just about 50 pages in all, and it was published by Astraea Press in March of last year. The whole process of having a book published was so exciting, from perusing the editor’s suggestions, seeing cover art for the first time, and watching as the reviews come in. Maya’s Vacation is available in e-book only, but you can get it for your kindle, nook, or in basic PDF form — however you want it! Here are the buy links from Astraea Press (direct from the publisher is where I get the biggest cut, hint hint), Amazon, and Barnes and Nobles. The novella will cost you a whopping $1.99. And if that’s too much, I’ll be giving away 5 $0.01 copies in next Thursday’s post!

We’ll be on Maya’s Vacation in the bragging series for a while, because it brought me much to brag about! I plan to repost the recordings of myself reading from the book, highlight a few of the reviews, and highlight a few of the interviews at other author blogs to promote its publication in the next few weeks on Thursdays. For this first post on my book, I’m including an excerpt from it. I hope you find your romantic leanings intrigued!

At 4:45, the three of them made their way out of the cabin. Opal led them on the trail to the dining hall. The smell of sap on the pine trees made Maya smile, and she wondered if anyone had ever made a sap-based paint. It would be dreadfully hard to work with, but the smell would be so much better than oil ones. Dean used to smell of nothing but oil paints and sweat.

It was strange how being here made her think of him when she hadn’t in ages. He had come back those many years ago, but it was a year after she’d accepted her parents’ check, and by then she was already engaged to Chuck with their blessing. Dean had found her at her parents’ home in New Rockford. She didn’t know how he found the house — she’d never mentioned which development they lived in — but she wasn’t surprised when she saw him striding up the walkway, holding a large, polished conch shell that must have been for her. Maya wanted to run to him then, everything within her screamed to go, but she’d made her decision months ago.

Maya’s Vacation on sale for 99 cents!

Would you look at that? My romance novella, Maya’s Vacation, is on sale for 99 cents until New Year’s day. This sale is only happening at Amazon, so click here to purchase it. Forgotten about this story? Well, listen to me read two excerpts from it here or here or read the synopsis:

Twenty-year-old Maya knew, as she watched Dean walk away from her front door, distraught at her silence and her father’s threats, that she would never love anyone with the intensity that she loved him. He was her painter, her artist, her soul mate and being apart from him hurt too much. She tucked those feelings away, determined to enjoy the safe and secure life her parents approved of: business school and a marriage to Chuck, a successful real estate agent.

Thirty years later, Chuck has cheated on and divorced her. But when he comes back, begging for reconciliation, Maya follows her intuition and takes a vacation to think it over. Her love of art, food, and wine combine at this retreat in the woods, and she prepares for a week of making new friends, tasting exquisite wines, and learning to paint again. What she hasn’t prepared for is the familiar voice she hears the first morning at camp . . . a voice that makes her skin tingle and brings back memories of who she used to be before Chuck. Has Maya buried her passion too deep to find love with Dean again?

I hope you love it, and if you do, please leave a review!

Six Sentence Sunday

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to play! Here are my six for the week, from my romance novella, Maya’s Vacation.

Dean stopped in front of a cherry-red jeep and put his suitcase down. She could see three or four more of his canvases peeking over the top of the seats. He leaned against the passenger door and pulled her around to look at him. His eyes glistened with tears; when had he started crying?

“Maya—” He choked up at her name. “Are you—are you coming with me?”

If you’re intrigued, make sure you scoot on over to Astraea Press to give it  a whirl for $2.99! The rest of my published works are listed over here.

Six Sentence Sunday

Time for another Six Sentence Sunday post–it’s been great fun participating and getting your feedback on such short snippets! Here’s another one from my romance novella, Maya’s Vacation. I’m out of town this week, so I many not be speedy on responding to comments, but please don’t let that discourage you from reading them!

By the time she’d finished her slice of mocha cheesecake and drank her port at the end of the meal, Maya had made fast friends with John, the short man. He’d taken the empty barstool next to her and spent the evening charming her with stories about his granddaughter and her new puppy. When he found out Maya was contemplating a reunion with her ex, he let out a low whistle and cried, “That’s a damn shame! If I’d have known that earlier, I wouldn’t have wasted the last two hours on you.”

“Am I the only person who came here to paint?” Maya replied with a laugh.

“Yes,” John answered. Then he whispered, “but don’t tell Ranger Cliff.”


The synopsis and buy links for Maya’s Vacation are over at my Published Works page, so swing by if you’re interested in more on this romance tale of old flames reuniting!