Thursday, May 31, 2012

Balance and the "Real" Life.

Sit with a cup of tea and join me
in welcoming,
 A.D. McLain-Young

It can be difficult to find the time to do anything when you are already juggling a family and a full-time job. Every responsibility or hobby you add must take time from something else. Even so, I’ve never had a problem finding time to write. Editing and marketing, maybe, but never writing. I may not put pen to paper ever day, but that doesn’t mean I’m not writing. Driving to work, rocking my son to sleep, cooking dinner, I’m almost always thinking of my characters and books. I may go days thinking through the details of a scene before I actually write anything. When I do write down my ideas, they are often in snippets on notepads, scratch paper, or even napkins. It is only later that I transfer all those notes to a notebook and put them in order, organizing and firmly writing my book.

My husband tells me it’s all about prioritizing. You make time for the things that are important to you. I guess that’s true, but it isn’t really a conscious decision. It is like eating. It is something I have to do, so I do it. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night to jot down ideas or a scene. Writing is what I was born to do. I get inspiration from everything; work, my family, television, books I read. Sometimes it is a movie I love that gives me an idea. I get so caught up with the characters, I think of what happens after the credits roll and the idea shifts into something that works in my stories. Other times it is a movie or book I hated that spurs and idea. I never know where my ideas will come from. I can only be prepared to write them down when they do. Other than that, I am inspired to write and be successful by my family. It is my dream to write full time, so I can stay home with my children. Whenever I have writer's block, or just don't feel like typing another word, I think of my kids and work on something to help my writing career become a reality.

But I know I could not be successful at this without my family firmly behind me. My husband is there to lend an extra hand when I need to type some scenes or work on marketing. He reads through my books to help me edit. For my most recent project, he has actually worked hand in hand with me to help me write the story. We will be releasing "Suriax" sometime this year. I am very blessed to have a husband and to have had parents who always encouraged my writing and never made me feel it was a fool's dream. Family means everything, and it means the world to me that they have gone on this journey with me and continue to be there to support me.


Having completed her first story at the age of twelve, Amanda knew at an early age that writing was her passion. She attended South Jones High School in Ellisville, MS and graduated from the University of New Orleans in 2003 with a degree in English. She currently resides in Louisiana, where she is married to her soul mate, Raymond. They married in a magical, Renaissance themed wedding ceremony in 2006 and had their first child in May 2008. She has recently published her book, "Suriax," through Smashwords. Find it here:

Where you can find A.D. McLain-Young:


I published "Wolf of the Past" in 2006 and "Wolf of the Present" in 2010. I write my paranormal romances as A.D. McLain. I am working to publish a fantasy novel, "Suriax." It is a joint project with my husband. For my fantasy books, I will write as Amanda Young.

"Wolf of the Present" is the second book in my Spirit of the Wolf werewolf romance series. It follows my two main characters, Mark and Meg.
Meg is a girl with a troubled past. In and out of foster homes, and the survivor of tragedy as a child, she has just entered college. She meets Mark, who wants to heal the pain he sees in Meg’s eyes. However, Mark also has some painful secrets in his past. Tormented by an unseen foe, Mark begins to lose his grip on reality. With Meg threatened by someone from her past, a friend in danger and a serial killer on the loose, their timing couldn’t be worse.

Meg and Mark must face their inner demons to see if their feelings for each other are strong enough to overcome their fears. This powerful paranormal romance will thrill fans of the genre.

You can read an excerpt here:

"Wolf of the Past" book 1 of my Spirit of the Wolf series
David was a boy without a family, stealing to survive, when one night he met a man named Richard. His life changed forever. Nicole was a simple college student, dealing with the recent deaths of her adoptive parents by trying to expose pollution problems in a local company. Grief soon becomes the least of her worries when the company finds out about her investigation and tries to end her meddling. But Nicole has the help of two unlikely allies, a strange black wolf and an even stranger man named David. But should she trust this stranger who seems to know so much about her and stirs up feelings she has never had before, even as her entire world gets turned upside down by one mystery after another? More importantly, can David really help her to finally understand the nightmares that have plagued her throughout her life?

"Suriax" is now released. Find her fantasy novel at
If it was legal to kill, would you?

Suriax and Aleria were sister cities, separated by the Therion River. Both were founded on a strict observance of the law, but they could not have been more different. For King Veritan founded Suriax on the teachings of Venerith, the Corruptor, a god of laws devoid of morality. In Suriax there is no "right" or "wrong." There is only "legal" or "illegal."

Kern was an assassin for the Flame Guard, mercenaries dedicated to Venerith. He never questioned his life until the day he learned the truth about his past.
Pursued by a queen willing to do anything to keep her throne, Kern must face an uncertain future and a bargain that will change the people of Suriax forever.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Positive Habit

Balancing Thursday!
Introducing, Gunnar C. Garisson

I am a 42 year old Engineer, Construction Manager and small business owner. I recently suffered a severe injury while on a rooftop that all but cost me my career. After about two days of feeling sorry for myself and getting bored senseless by television, I remembered that I was also a writer who suffered years of "If I only had time to write" syndrome. It was then that I remembered one critical fact: writers write!!! They don't try to "fit it in" when it's convenient, as there will ALWAYS be something in the way... believe me, as a father of two, I know this to be true above all else! The sky is blue, you'll eventually die, and there will ALWAYS be something in the way! Solution... hmmm, yeah... that part. Well, it seems obvious to me that there are only two workable scenarios, regardless of who you are, or what specific challenges you face in your life. You can adjust your environment to fit your lifestyle... or you can adjust your lifestyle to accommodate your environment! Bingo! Door number two, please!

For me, this was a no brainer. After the injury, we quickly spiraled downward from living in a large home on 5 acres to being crammed, dogs, cats and children into a 36 foot pull behind trailer where there is absolutely no privacy or even desk space. I made two changes then and there that changed my life for the better and have since then helped me to produce two novels out of a trilogy, as well as a myriad of freelance work. I downscaled my operation to a laptop, and I started waking up at 3am every single day! Ironically, all the "night owls" at my house are completely asleep by then and I also get the benefit of harnessing the period of post-dreamstate haze that lends itself so well to the type of surrealistic, cutting edge science fiction and fantasy that I love to write! I simply got sick and tired of trying in vain to find a niche in the chaos where I could consistently write in peace and quiet! Peace and quiet... yeah, right! As any family man (or woman) can attest, there is no such thing! Children, God bless 'em, are quite simply the loudest, most demanding full time job imaginable, and anyone, male or female, that doesn't think of homemaking as a stressful, full time job, is being very naive! The trenches of construction were a vacation by comparison! At least there you had the benefit of being able to punch out and call it a day!

Getting up at 3am has worked out great for me, and isn't anywhere near as hard as it sounds. Even just getting up a couple hours earlier than normal and using the time to work on writing is a huge productive jump in the right direction! It really amounts to simply creating any kind of positive habit that one can. A steady habit, however seemingly insignificant, will often enough turn the tides from wishful thinking and being an "aspiring writer," to full blown productivity and realization of one's dreams. This is also a far better and less exhaustive route than trying to find the time at the end of one's day when your mind is cluttered, fatigued, stressed, and you are fading off toward sleep. Of all the different time slots I've tested, this works the best for me, plain and simple, and believe me, I've been pushed around the clock in an effort to find solace enough to write at all, much less steadily enough to self produce two full length novels, and dream up a third!
About The Author
Gunnar Garisson is an old soul, warrior poet living well out of his time in modern society. In addition to writing full time, he spends a vast amount of creative energy designing off-grid, self sufficient homes, medieval weaponry, music and a better and stronger horn of mead.
He has a passion for the wilderness that was instilled at a very young age, and is a devout member of the church of the highest peak he can find. Alongside years of multi-disciplinary Martial Arts training and an Engineering degree, he is an avid swordsman, and can often be found deep in the woods sparring with his brothers, steel on steel. He enjoys loud motorcycles, small animals, and riding pretty much any kind of board, but his deepest love will always be family.
Only without the bonds of family are we are truly alone....
For current, up to date news, new novel release dates and ordering info, as well as contact information, visit:

Author of Critical Mass
eBook link:
 Planeshifters: Critical Mass, Book: II
eBook link:

A free, chapter by chapter clickable preview for both novels is available at:  starting at:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Yogi On Balance

Another Thursday Edition
of Getting Balanced.
Today I have a featured guest who knows all about balance,
Yoga balance, that is.
Introducing Robbi Nester

Gaining Balance
   I am a yoga student and a writer. These are both activities that occupy me for some part of every day, but despite efforts to connect them, until December of 2008, I was unable to do it. I would look forlornly out of the studio window at the waving palm trees and think that surely this, as much as any of the other activities that took up my day, could be the subject for poetry, but nothing emerged from the hazy slate of my mind, as stubbornly unproductive as an unplugged computer or a cracked crystal ball.

   This pattern continued, the two poles of my life occupying their own, utterly separate spheres, until my teacher, Denise Thibault, taught several classes in a row based on B.K.S. Iyengar’s Emotional Stability Sequence, which had an immediate, profound effect on me.

    I originally began doing yoga about two decades or more ago to help me deal with an inherited case of anxiety that had kept me from driving till late in my 40s and otherwise hampered my physical as well as mental well-being. Regular yoga had quelled the worst effects of this disorder. But this particular series induced a calm sense of well-being I had only rarely experienced. I was suffused with gratitude and energy, as though I was standing before a blazing bonfire, enough to fuel a poem.

  That afternoon, a fortuitous summons beckoned: an online journal in which I had several times published, Qarrtsiluni, was planning an issue on the theme of health. Maybe I could write a poem about yoga for this issue? That began a flurry of writing the like of which I had never before experienced.

  I looked up the particulars of the emotional stability sequence, which contains 15 asanas or poses, and stared at the diagrams for a while. Then I wrote “Salamba Sirsasana 1—Headstand,” which I submitted to the journal, where it was accepted. The itch did not abate. I was not finished with this project.

  The poems poured out over a two month period so that by the end, I was producing several a week, a feat unheard of in my snail-paced past. The lines and images flowed effortlessly. I felt as Keats had described himself in his poem “On Chapman’s Homer”: like an explorer facing an immense and long-sought sea. It was as though it had been there all the time, waiting for me to turn a corner one day, when it would be revealed, all at once.

  Writing the poems was only the beginning of this journey. For an audience unfamiliar with yoga, I needed illustrations to accompany the poems. Not being a visual artist, I looked around me. Miraculously, just as with the poems, what I needed had been there all along. My cousin, Nina Canal, an artist and musician based in Marseille France, stepped forward, donating her considerable efforts to the cause. Over a period of two years, she produced graceful drawings for each of the poems.

  We discussed a cover for the book. I knew I didn’t want to use a stock photograph. In the middle of yoga class one day, I suddenly envisioned an origami lotus made out of the pages of a book. I had no idea how to make such a thing, but when I went online, I found that others had shared my vision: there was a whole store on the crafts site Etsy devoted to making these flowers, so I ordered one. 

 With the lotus in hand, I asked my friend, the photographer John Genesta, and asked him to do the job, which he did. Just as with the drawings, the image I envisioned came to life.
  For her part, my publisher, Karen Kelsay Davies, of White Violet Press, spent long hours wrangling with the words on the page and the images that accompanied them, producing a beautiful book.

  What does my experience say about this business of writing? We think about this as one of the most solitary of activities. The writer sits alone in a room before the empty screen of a computer, and waits for inspiration from deep inside.

  It turns out that it doesn’t work quite that way. Inspiration comes from outside as well as within, and that means that writers must call on everything and everyone they know. Their communities, lives, families, concerns have made them what they are. Their enthusiasm is often contagious, creating a ready-made audience of people as filled with wonder as they are at the work they have made.

       Salamba á¹¢irsanana--headstand

The moon swells like a seedpod.
Inside the quiet studio, I take
my aching head into my hands,
fingers web to web. A breath,
and then this awkward frame
ascends, becomes an aspen,
flexing in a nonexistent breeze.
Grounded in air, movement merges
with stillness, my ear a vehicle
for surging tides, the galaxies’
faint hum. Everywhere
and nowhere, the worlds
fall away, balanced
on these two arms
Robbi Nester is the author of Balance, published by White Violet Press in Feb. 2012. She has published poetry in Qarrtsiluni, Floyd County Moonshine, Victorian Violet Press, Inlandia, Caesura, and has a poem forthcoming in Northern Liberties Review. Her reviews have appeared in The Hollins Critic and Switchback, and she has essays anthologized in Easy to Love but Hard to Raise (DRT Press) and Flashlight Memories (Silver Boomer Press).
Nina Canal, illustrator of Balance:">Nina Canal
John Genesta, photographer of cover:">John Genesta
White Violet Press, Karen Kelsay Davies,">White Violet Press

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day all!
A bouquet for you 
in honor of Pink Saturday
Head over and check out all the other ladies.
They always make my day.
Don't forget our giveaway:
We are giving away T-shirts and books
Young adult science fiction.
If you happen to know a teen who loves to read
and/or wear T-shirts 
head over here.
There are lots of ways to win.
I also wanted to share:
This amazing teacher, well she's my daughter.
I'm so very proud of her.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Soul Crushing Corporate America

I just LOVE Thursdays!
Balanced Thursday, of course.
Introducing Arlene M. Lagos

I’ve spent my life trying to find work life balance always believing that we had to work hard, doing something we hated at least 40 hours a week, so we could afford to enjoy our weekends. Somewhere in between work and keeping up with house chores, groceries, dinner and making sure my daughter got to kindergarten on time, I realized there wasn’t a whole lot of time left for me.  When am I going to write? When am I going to work out? Will I ever see my husband alone again?

Then I realized how many people in the world were smart enough to combine work and hobby into one happy entity. I realized fast that if I was ever going to write I needed to get paid for it, or at least make it my mission to have it become a full time job. I want to get paid doing something I love, not waste away in the soul crushing cubicles of corporate America.

So what did I do? I quit my job. Scary right? I looked at our finances and realized that when we made more money we spent more money. But we could most definitely survive on one income if we just scaled down to only what was really important, so that’s what we were going to do. Because what was really important, after all, was our sanity. This allowed me to spend my days writing in the mornings, working out in the afternoons, cleaning the house, picking up my daughter early from school (instead of her sitting at an after hours program until 6pm at night) and really get the most out of my day.

My desire to become a paid writer is one step closer to being a reality and you know why? Because I closed a door, I closed a door on a life I didn’t want and allowed room for the life I wanted. A life where I can spend more time with my family, more time on my writing and take back my body. My relationship with my husband has improved, my health has improved both physically and mentally and the bond I have with my daughter is priceless.

Now I’m not trying to cram in a paragraph here and there in between sales calls, dinner and laundry. A writer should have the time they need to write, period. If you are serious about being a writer than don’t go in half way. You need to grab life by the horns and ride it all the way into the sunset because we only have one life and we are not guaranteed a tomorrow. You are here for a reason, to create and inspire the world around you.

I realize it might be hard to leave a job, a lot of people think I am crazy for doing it. So if you aren’t ready to take this step then write out a daily schedule that allows you at least 2 uninterrupted hours a day to write. Don’t let ANYTHING disturb you short of a fire or death. If you can do this for one month straight, then you have achieved a good balance. If you can’t, then you need to ask yourself how important writing really is to you…And maybe quit your job. After all, are you a writer or an employee?

Arlene M. Lagos, a native of Massachusetts has written poetry, stage plays, screen plays and short stories for over 20 years.  She has written, acted and directed for the stage and screen in Boston, NYC, Los Angeles and Charleston. Lagos began writing the Beyond Earth Series as a first time member of convinced she could write 50,000 words in one month, which she did and has now made this Book I of her series. Her goal in life is to create and to inspire the world around her. Lagos currently resides in Massachusetts with her husband and their daughter.

Looking for that next great book to read? Look no further!  VERUM:TRUTH of the BEYOND EARTH SERIES 
Book II of the Beyond Earth Series will be called Ardor: Love and is scheduled to be released in May 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Strange Pace

Hello all,
I have an additional post this week
from author, Bettie Wright.

Before my husband retired from the Real Estate business in Orinda, California I had no trouble balancing my life with writing. He was always busy working.

After he retired and we moved to Arizona, it was very difficult, at least at first. I had been used to being on my own most of the day. Before I took writing classes and wrote my stories on the typewriter. I wrote many short stories, about things and places of my life. I also worked for a travel agency in Lafayette. I kept the house clean and fixed meals for my three daughters and Ed, my husband. After the girls married and left, I cooked for Ed.

When we moved first to Glendale, Arizona, I was still in the travel business and took several groups to Oaxaca, Mexico and arranged three trips for Unity church. Ed was a problem he didn’t know what to do? he had been working all the time. He started watching television, I hated it. We then moved to surprise to a beautiful little South West style home in “Sun Village.” I began computer classes and bought a computer. I put all my stories on the computer; and began classes in Glendale at the Library, where they wanted me to learn and I learned more about writing. I kept writing more stories and began rewriting and rewriting over and over.

I do most of the household tasks. Up until several months ago, my husband was doing all the grocery and household shopping. When he didn’t pass his drivers license test, I had to do all the shopping and driving him here and there. I still try to prepare dinner, but many times don’t have the slightest idea of what I’m serving for dinner. It bothers my husband, which makes me feel a little guilty sometimes. This combination; of writing and keeping up a home gets done but at a strange pace. Now I have more to do in getting my published book out into the public’s eye.

I can eat anything but Ed is a meat and potatoes guy. I would be happy to eat out most every night. I have cooked long enough. I do most of my writing while Ed is reading but I still love to play the piano and that takes time and I can’t do that while he’s reading. I try to get out with other women once a week for lunch or a group meeting which helps me with my book

Ed likes routine and I like variety. We get our walks in the morning and work out in the exercise room here at sun village.

 I am writing a sequel to “I Didn’t Miss Much.” It’s mostly stories about my life, poems and tidbits.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Bit of Pink & A Giveaway

Happy Pink Day All!
Isn't that just the loveliest flower ever?
Join up with all the ladies at
How Sweet the Sound.

My latest book with co-author,
Austine Etcheverry,
Flight From the Water Planet
has been read and reviewed on Goodreads.
We are so very, very pleased.

And we are giving away a few copies
and t-shirts to some lucky winners.

Check it out here.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Happy Hypochondriac

Yeah, for featured guests.
You're going to love this one.
Introducing, Kat Spitzer
I'm the author of the new book, The Happy Hypochondriac, and the daily humor blog of the same name ( I write freelance magazine pieces, contribute as a blogger to What's Up? Kids, and collaborated on a cookbook/entertainment guide called,Thyme to Entertain. I am currently working on my second Happy Hypochondriac book. 
Balancing this work with my other jobs as a mother of two young children, Executive Director of a small non-profit foundation, and volunteer with a couple of large community organizations, is not always easy. Here are my tips (which sometimes work):

1) Try to work when the kids are asleep or in school. Writing is not done well when there is a lot of other noise. Multi-tasking is good for many things, but not writing!

2) Despite what feels like 6 hour days, try to get a good nights sleep every night. You will be more focused and clear with your writing.

3) Find a part of every day when you can block off time for writing. It's important to write every day even if it's something small, or work that you will later edit to death. Every bit you write inevitably makes you a better writer overall.

4) Make a plan and try to stick with it. Example: I would like to finish a certain amount in a month. Don't fall into self loathing, however, if you fall a little short. Sometimes that negativity can stall you for much longer. Just forgive yourself and move on with your next goal.

5) Feel proud of yourself often for the work you have produced. Positive feelings breed even more ideas!

Kat Spitzer
The Happy Hypochondriac

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Give It Away

The word is out
and so is

Flight From the Water Planet,
Book 1, The Exodus Series.

If you or someone you love
enjoys young adult science fiction
come on by.

We are giving away three copies
which is awesome,


we are also giving away

Flight From the Water Planet T-shirts

Head over here to learn how you can enter to win.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Poetry Club

 I met Ken several years ago.
He's a great guy.
But I didn't know then how great.
Read on . . .
Guest Author, Ken Slesarik

 So tell me a little about yourself.

Writing poetry for children is my passion. My poems have been used in fundraisers, cookbooks and school functions. I also facilitate a poetry club at Esperanza Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona and our e-book “Poetry Rocks 2012” is doing very well on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. When not writing or teaching poetry I occasionally perform at coffee shops or bookstores while looking for my niche in children’s poetry. Currently I am writing a humorous collection of desert wildlife poems as well as a collection about Big Foot.

What gave you the idea to put out an e-book of poems written primarily by children?

I read an article by children’s author Janet Wong that talked about e-books and the possibilities they present. I was especially impressed by her enthusiasm for the genre. As a teacher and aspiring children’s poet, that got me thinking about how I could promote poetry at my school. The idea was to facilitate an after school poetry club with the eventual goal of publishing an e-book. We also decided to open it up to the entire school to submit poems. The profits from the book would be used to possibly fund author visits, poetry book give-aways and in general promote a culture of poetry at our school.

Describe a typical club meeting.

Well, we would meet directly after school in my classroom and I would usually start by introducing an element of poetry such as a basic couplet, rhyme, line arrangement or word stress.

That led to some lively discussions and it was very rewarding to see reluctant writers find their voice. We found that we had time to write in our poetry journals and implement what we learned but I also think performing poetry and actually speaking the words aloud is important, so we would take turns reading our work or the work of published poets. I insisted upon absolute respect as an audience as I wanted the students to feel safe. Occasionally, I would bring in recordings of poets such as Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky and we were lucky to have poets Joy Achy and Jeanne Poland visit us on two occasions.

What memories from the project stand out?

We shared a lot of laughter here and for some of the regular attendees I’m certain this new found appreciation for poetry is most likely to stay with them for the rest of their lives.

I have several clear memories of when a particular student just “lit up” with pride and accomplishment as they understood a particular concept or finished a poem. One such  student, named Dylan, after seeing the finished product and his poem in the book, asked me if I wanted his autograph. In retrospect, I actually think he was serious and he is probably shopping agents now! As I look back, the whole project was a lot of work but at times it seemed much more like play.

Do you have a favorite poem or poems from the collection?

Our book has some very strong poems but I want to mention that I accepted just about all the poems submitted by the students and although that may contribute to an uneven tone, it definitely added to the sense of community that Janet Wong recently mentioned when commenting on our book.

Horse Apples
By Hannah Jensen

Horse he likes the food
“mmm” he said.
He ate an apple
big and crunchy.

Horse he likes the food
“yum” he said.
He ate a carrot
big and crunchy.

Horse he likes the food
“gulp” he said.
He ate a third grader
big and crunchy!

 How can we find the book?

You can find it by doing a search of “Poetry Rocks 2012”. It is available in both Nook and Kindle versions. I’ve been surprised to learn that many people don’t realize you don’t have to have an e-reader to purchase the book but can get it delivered to your computer or smart phone by first getting the appropriate free app. It’s easy!

Poetry Rocks 2012-Poems by the students and staff of Esperanza Elementary School. Compiled by Ken Slesarik
Poetry Rocks 2012 is a compilation of 52 poems submitted by students and a few staff in an effort to encourage an appreciation of poetry on campus.