In Which Our Heroine Takes a Stab at Setting Up a Rafflecopter

Once upon a time, an author had a giveaway to run.

Normally, she would do this the semi-old-fashioned way: Taking down the names of the contest’s entrants on bits of scratch paper, tossing them all together in a shoebox, and drawing the random winners by hand. This was all perfectly well and good, and many of the author’s readers/friends/fans had thus received a multitude of awesome prizes.

But this time, the author felt compelled to do things differently. This time, the author was going to brave her technophobia, stare her archnemesis (the dread Technology Fiend) in the eye, and set up one of those Rafflecopter thingamajigabadoos* as seen on so many of the blogs of her online peers.

(* Because why just say “thingy” when you can start beat-boxing instead?)

And that author… *solemn nods* … was me.

I went into this endeavor with my usual cringing skepticism that anything purporting to be both technology-related and “easy” was an ugly lie. Turns out, though, that I didn’t run into any trouble at all. I just followed the signage provided on the website’s clearly-labels buttons, and in a perfectly reasonable amount of time, I was signed up for free and customizing a giveaway template to suit my needs.

All of which brings us to today: The start of my INSPIRED e-ARC Giveaway!!!

What’s up in a nutshell, folks. (Yay! I did this! #AmBeaming)
What’s up in a nutshell, folks. (Yay! I did this! #AmBeaming)

The official description of the prize:


“For a muse like Lucianíel, one story’s end is another’s beginning.

In the wake of his author’s sudden death, Luc takes ownership of her surviving creations—four fantastical characters with tales yet to be told—saving them from unwritten lives crumbling around them and giving them a second chance at a literary future.

Luc finds that chance in the unsuspecting mind of Annabelle Iole Gray, a quirky teen with her head in the clouds, nose in a book, and imagination ripe for a brilliant muse’s inspiration.

Or so he hopes.

Neither Luc nor Annabelle, however, realize all they’ve undertaken. Even with a to-write list including accounts of a shape-shifting cat creature, gentle knight-in-training, vigilante skater girl, and a mystery boy smothering in unspoken fear, the most remarkable saga created between author and muse just may turn out to be one stranger than fiction.

Their own.”

Follow this link to my Rafflecopter giveaway,  and entering to win an advance reader e-copy of my upcoming novel, INSPIRED, will be just as easy-peasy as setting up a Rafflecopter of your own. Winning, of course, will be more up to chance, but know that I’m rooting for ya! The raffle closes at midnight on Friday, Jan. 31, and I’ll announce the winner here on Saturday, Feb. 1.

So go! Enter! And thereby reassure me that I actually set this thing up correctly. XD (I laugh, but I’m kinda serious. Please let this thing be working, lest the Tech Fiend get the last laugh after all…)

“Backup” or “How Paranoia Saved My Life”

Once upon a time, an author lived in fear that her home would blow up the moment she drove down the street.

Well, maybe not that very moment. And maybe it wouldn’t so much explode as just, y’know, burn to the ground. In any case, it wasn’t so much the thought of losing her home and possessions that bothered her. Their destruction would be a grand nuisance, of course, but material things could be replaced (or stored safe in a fireproof box by her bed). What could not be replaced, however, were the many years’ worth of stories filed away on her laptop computer. If she lost her creative work, it would be gone forever.

Burning Computer

Terrified at the prospect, she made a careful habit of keeping a frequently updated “copy of a program or file that is stored separately from the original” on her USB flash drive, and was in fact in the very the process of trying to upload the latest edits of her upcoming novel when – without any warning other than its increasingly uncooperative moods, of late – the author’s laptop froze up, shut down, and has refused to reawaken ever since.

And that author… *solemn nods* …was me.

I shudder to imagine where I would be now if I didn’t have those backup files. I’ve wept hard enough for documents lost in the past that had nothing more than sentimental value. That’s got nothing on nowadays where, by some cruel twist of fate, I, a favorite target of the malevolent virtual force known by a select few of its enemies as the Technology Fiend, have my heart, soul, and potential livelihood bound up in cyber-whatsits. (Yes. Cyber-whatsits. That is how much I know about technology.)

Y’know what? Let’s not even depress ourselves by entertaining the dark fantasy of what might have been and, instead, celebrate our blessings.

The Wilderhark Tales” documents? Safe.

That day’s edits on Inspired”? Essentially dead; the computer-savvy people for hire weren’t able to recover a thing from the hard drive, and saw no way of its ever happening, unless I’m willing to pay through the nose for it (which, until I become a billionaire, I’m not). In any event, I had my weeks of progress up ‘til then saved, and was able to more or less recreate what I’d lost, thanks to my handwritten notes. (It pays to have hard copies of important stuff, too.)

The lion’s share of my novel drafts crafted over the last several years? Mostly safe, I think. I don’t yet have the heart to check my flash drive file by file and see which documents aren’t perfectly up to date. Whatever I’ve got, it’s leagues better than nothing.

I’ve no doubt that there’s plenty of not-as-vital stuff missing. Perhaps I should have, but I didn’t keep a copy of absolutely everything, and copies of some things didn’t get updated to the USB nearly often enough to be considered current. You ever hear the phrase “Only the paranoid survive”? Well, right now we’re dealing with a case of “Only the things I was especially paranoid about survived”.

So, the moral of the story?

If the file matters to you, KEEP A BACKUP! Do the USB thing, or put it on a disc, or e-mail copies to yourself – whatever works for you, I don’t care, I’m just begging you, as your internet pal who gives a darn about your soul: Do not let yourself live my dark fantasy.

This concludes my public service announcement / cautionary tale / show of gratitude to the Lord above for guarding me from a shattered heart (as opposed to a heart just kind of grieving a little bit for she’s not even sure how much).

If anyone needs to lament about a time the Technology Fiend did them ill, consider the comments section a shoulder to cry on.

“Sabotage” or “ ‘Shadow Lights’ for Realz!”

Well, no thanks at all to typical Technology Fiend “treacherous action to defeat or hinder a cause or an endeavor; deliberate subversion” (don’t even front, buster, I know you’re behind it!), the Hogglepot sci-fi/fantasy journal is now featuring my short story, as scheduled. If you’ve been waiting patiently throughout the delay…you’re a better man/woman than I am.

One possible visual interpretation of my diabolical arch-nemesis. ...Or a completely unrelated sketch of mine, doctored to look extra creepy and vaguely "Shadow Light"-y.

So, on glorious display now through the 12th of May (barring more schedule screwiness) and archived ever after, here’s my mythology-inspired tale of great power bringing with it great responsibility and a choice that no little boy should ever have to face – a.k.a. “Shadow Lights”.

Thanks for reading, those who do, and I’d love to hear how you like it. (:


A single letter stands between the title of this piece and that of the one that came before it. Sometimes that one little letter is all it takes – an “o” where an “e” ought to be, or vice versa. One little letter standing between what was meant and what you got instead: The dreaded typographical error.

            There’s a plethora of phenomena bearing the moniker “writer’s bane” (primarily because it’s just fun to call things bane, I think): Deadlines in conjunction with distractions, whole documents destroyed by the vile Technology Fiend, and long stretches of writer’s block, to name a grisly few. But the real shudder-inducer in my book is the “mistake in printing, typesetting, or typing, especially one caused by striking an incorrect key on a keyboard”; more to the point, I shudder to think that my reading material or written works will contain an instance or several of the contemptible things.

            Typos are sneaky little devils, slipping under a proofreader’s radar with a mastery of subterfuge. They gull our eyes with homophony, knowing theirs a decent chance there substitution will remain they’re unnoticed. They switch words around, betting our that automatically brains will rearrange so the sentence it reads properly. On that same token, they just decide take one or words out altogether. They play with punctuation, relying, on our lack? of confidence; regarding where exactly – bits, and pieces, like commas – and semicolons ought to go: in the first place” Typos are invisible until they don’t want to be, and then they are a serious distraction.

            I try to be careful, truly I do. I check, recheck, and triple-check every blog piece I post, every Facebook comment I share, every email I send (and that goes double for every book or short story I write). But sadly, I am only human. Not even a half-elf or a partial-elemental, as far as I know; fully, fallibly, lamely human. And even the best writer cops among us humans just can’t catch ‘em all. Inevitably, the occasional typo will get through. (And if you were expecting much help from the automated spell-check, think again; it’s been seen palling around with the Tech. Fiend one time too many.)

            All I can do – all any of us can do – is remain vigilant. Yes, it may be an age of text messages, emoticons, and deliberate abbreviations in the name of the vernacular. But when you take a piece of writing seriously, and when you want others to do the same, you owe it to us all to do the best you can to ensure that what you’ve typed and what you meant to type match up to the very last letter.

            So if you ever notice a typo in any of my blog pieces, please do let me know.