Sunday, November 1, 2015

Win one of three copies of  Dragon of the Month Club by Iain Reading.

Middle Grade Fantasy and Adventure! Read Book-Attic's review at Dragon of The Month Club. If you love it, there is more to come!! winners will be chosen November 7th!!!

Good Luck and Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fun Home: my view

It's time for a soap box rant...

I mean, it's time for a well educated blog post about literature. Before you go any further, read this article.

Done? Let's move on.

First and foremost, I would like to thank Brian Grasso for actually taking the time to look through the book a bit before denouncing it. Woohoo! Many strongly convicted people would not have even gone that far.

Fun Home really is an in your face account of Alison Bechdel's life. Maybe it is more of an account of how everyone else's views affected hers... Either way, it is dripping with sexuality of all natures, gruff parenting strategies and her road towards accepting who she is as well as who her parents have become. In my eyes, she's an inspiration. She filled these pages with more private information than any other piece of literature I've read. And yes, I blushed as I read most of the book during Thanksgiving Break.

That's not my point here. This paragraph here is what I'd like to touch on:

I don’t believe my position will limit my exposure to essential lessons in history, philosophy or literature. I assume that having to view graphic images of sex for a class will be rare. If it does happen, I will avoid any titillating content and encourage like-minded students to do the same. And I believe professors should warn me about such material, not because I might consider them offensive or discomforting, but because I consider it immoral.

Does he truly believe he will make it through four years at Duke University without having to view such material? Maybe it is my English degree speaking or my moral compass speaking, but I believe he is sorely mistaken if he believes otherwise and I went to school in Texas!

I was raised in a very open minded home and I have worked diligently to raise my children in such an environment. I have one child who spats with her father about LGBT topics that even he doesn't wholly understand  and another child who sat and watched Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief last night while telling me how the movie can't be right because the one true God isn't in it. 

I guess what I'm saying is this poor boy has been blindsided by the real world on his first week of university level classes and he's just a freshmen. What is he going to do when he doesn't have such an understanding Professor and he's handing M. Butterfly and told to read it or take a failing grade? Or when he steps into a German History class and he's told to read The Men with the Pink Triangle? Or when a teen lit class teacher assigns Forever? He says he doesn't believe by opting out of this literature he will miss out on the lessons to be learned, however, this isn't high school anymore. It's time to step out of your comfort zone and take in some other worldly views. 

Am I wrong?

Here's the devils advocate before you jump on it for me. He says, "It's not about being uncomfortable. It's about being asked to do something that I think is immoral." I can see how Bechdel's Fun Home can cross the morality line for some people. Really, I get it. And I'm not saying run out and make a pornographic book of your own. I'm just saying, there is a difference between "looking at a woman lustfully," and reading a well thought out piece of literature. I believe if a person's moral code is going to be so stringent as to keep them from learning the material as the professor has planned out, it would be a good idea to look further into the past syllabi's of each and every professor before making a class schedule.


So, back to my own children. I'm not saying that everything I teach them will be dripping in sexual nature. I'm not saying that before they exit my home, they will have read any of these books (as I keep them under lock and key).  I'm just saying that they will be prepared for the syllabi they will be assigned before they get there. The world is not full of puffy unicorns and brightly colored rainbows! And if you do not face material that you find conflicting in nature, you will never grow out of the box you've placed yourself in. 

Do not raise your children in the dark!



In true Victoria Allred nature, I have rambled on for much longer than I planned. Please, comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. And as always HAPPY READING!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak

 This post from Book-Attic

***

The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak (#1 in The Harvesting Series)  

Genre: Post-Apocalyptic  

Published: January 8, 2014 by Clockpunk Press  

First edition: September 13, 2012 by Steampunk Press 

Interest Level: 13+


     Layla Petrovitch hoped she would never see Hamletville again. However, when she gets a desperate call from her grandmother, she is forced to return home. With an epidemic sweeping the country making infected people turn cannibalistic and danger at every turn, can Layla survive? With the help of whats left of the town they finally escape, but is it worth the risk?

    
      "Melanie Karsak is the author of the Amazon best-selling steampunk series The Airship Racing Chronicles, the award-winning horror/dark fantasy Harvesting Series, and The Saga of Lady Macbeth. She grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania and earned a Master's degree in English from Gannon University. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, Shakespeare nerd, and zombie whisperer, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College."-Melaniekarsak.com


     I give The Harvesting 5/5 stars for great writing and a unique plot. It had me gripping the edge of my seat. With a variety of paranormal creatures, from vampires to shadow creatures, and a unique twist on zombies, no stone was left unturned. Many people classify it as zombie story, but it's so much more. It's vampires, post-apocalyptic, and could even be considered a coming-of-age story. In the end, I got so much more than I expected. I can't wait to read The Shadow Aspect the second story in The Harvesting Trilogy. 
*Review for Midway coming soon.*

    


 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Raising children???

My husband and I, even after thirteen years, are very much like night and day on every subject possible. I think the only thing we can agree on at all is our love for our children. That being said, he does make me a better person. When he criticizes, I may give a sarcastic, quick witted answer, but I also ponder those words.
 
 
While watching an old episode of Criminal Minds last night, he says, "You should watch this episode. Maybe it will give you some inspiration for you book." I looked up from my iPad and shrugged. He says, "I guess you aren't really writing it anymore" and goes back to watching quietly. 

That seemingly innocent observation stung like a wasp. A big red one! 

He's right, I have not been devoting much time to writing. Instead, I've been paying attention to my children! Landon and Katrina tug at my mind a good majority of the day. They want their story written just as much as I yearn to write it. However, my children are alive and real (forgive me for using the r word) and they need me to continue to mold them into people. Landon and Katrina can be put on hold. I promise someday I will get to finish their story. I just feel that I have more important things on my plate right now.
 
 
 It may be safe to say, I have a self inflicted writer's block. I have allowed my children to block my characters from speaking to me! I also blame George R.R. Martin. If he would have written shorter books... Let's just say, I am loving his writing! 




Monday, July 6, 2015

Short and Sweet! Happy Summer!

I am so happy to announce that my summer begins today! It's been a long six weeks of daily swim practices, sometimes biweekly baseball practices not to mention games, meets and gymnastics to boot. Ok, now that I've written that all out, I realize we still have two days of baseball and gymnastics lasts another two weeks. Either way, swim team is over!

Who cares? Don't be shy; I know that's what you're thinking. 

I care. That means I can sit in my little prison of a writing room and do just that WRITE. Well, for a few hours a day. Summer does still mean kids and kids are only little once.

Wait. So why am I wasting my time here? Not that I have anything but love for the token few who are even aware I have a blog, I need to write so I can bring you the next chapter in Landon and Katrina's life! I know, I know. And Draco and Emily. And all those other pairs who are fighting for both each other and to save the world... (see what I did there? Now, you're curious to know who these people are, aren't you!)

Read for Free! 

Off to Write I go!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Where are the lazy days of summer?

Last night, as I walked through my own bedtime routine, I realized my house is trashed. I don't mean there were a few toys on the floor and some dishes in the sink. No. My counters are completely covered with dirty dishes to the extent that making coffee this morning was a task straight out of MacGyver. There are bags containing various sports equipment blocking the front door. And laundry, well, let's not go there.
What I planned to do this summer.

Suffice to say, we are a month into summer vacation...

Hold on, I'd like to backtrack a few decades. Do you remember when summer vacation meant just that, a vacation. It was a  break from school and all the running around A time when children laid around their house whining about being bored and parents planned trips places just to keep them entertained? It meant week long movie marathons and staying up late to eat ice cream and catch fire flies.

Are you deep into memory lane? Let me pull you back.

My summer reality
My life is crazier this month than it has ever been in the school year! Daily swim team practices, three day a week baseball practices/games, gymnastics, musical rehearsal, princess camp, home improvement projects... Yesterday alone, we had a five hour swim meet with the oldest and double header baseball games with the youngest. Dinner didn't happen until 9! You get the point?

Ok, so summer vacation is a third gone. I had planned to take this three months break from school (and work) to write a book. You know, that book people have been hounding me to work on. I think I have written maybe 3,000 words in the last month. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day!

It looks like about the middle of July sports will be over and things will begin to wind down. That means I will have approximately six weeks of lazy days. Granted, we have a family vacation scheduled in the middle of that and two kids planning long weekends in opposite directions. Maybe I will have to step back a few decades as well and start writing pen and paper style!

Have a happy summer and enjoy those rare moments!

Nine hours later: I'm not going to lie. I just took a two hour nap and I don't feel the list bit guilty about that! Now, to catch a few hidden minutes to work on a book.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A June Post!

So, I realized this morning that I haven't posted in a while - almost a month to be more precise- and I was just hoping you didn't miss me too much. Almost a month ago, my kids started their ridiculously long summer vacation and I've been trying to focus on them. Summer means a push to read more and unplug. In other words, it's quite a bit of screaming and yelling. They don't understand why they can't be on some kind of device all day and I don't understand where my creative, fun-loving children went.

Yesterday, we started our new summer technology plan. All devices and remotes are to be deposited into a basket at 10am and are not to be retrieved until 7pm. Of course, everyone yelled about it for roughly thirty minutes, but what happened afterwards amazed me! One kid asked to go the park and another read a book. I haven't seen all three of them in the same room and not screaming at each other in months either!

I'm not going to climb on my soapbox about how a little technology goes a long way especially since we purposely moved to a school district that pushes the envelope. I will simply say, too much of anything is a bad thing.

My point is, I don't really have a lot of time to blog lately and my brain is a little fizzled out when it comes to interesting subjects as I spend my days at swim team practices, baseball games, gymnastics lessons and just entertaining three children. What little time I have to sit at the computer, I use to write. That doesn't mean I'm not around. While my kids are forced to unplug completely, I still have a phone stowed away everywhere we go! You can find me on twitter (@toriLallred) and instagram (@torilallred) and Facebook.


UPDATE

No electronics from 10 am to 7 pm... Have you wondered how that worked out? It didn't. It lasted about three days. I would still say it's been productive. The kids now know I have the ability and the will-power to take the electronics away so they make a little extra effort to do other things and I've learned to set aside things like cleaning the house to spend the rare free time we have with them. 



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

On writing

When I first picked up my pen and started scribbling about a man who'd taken a girl to bed and woke up in the morning to find her decapitated head on his nightstand, it was easy. The words flowed like water allowing the characters to jump from my imagination like true people in the world. Then all at once, it stopped. I hit a wall and just couldn't figure out how to pass through it so, I gave up. Then I wrote 30 pages about a boy chosen to protect the world from and evil scientist but when he crossed into a new dimension, I couldn't find the right words and I quit again.

I can continue through the dozen or so stories gathering dust in my documents folder, but we don't have that much time. The truth is I always believed writing to be an easy (an well paying) job. You sit down to a computer, pound out a hundred thousand words and make millions. That's all there is too it, right?

WRONG!

Writing is the hardest thing I have ever done and I'm raising a hormonal over achieving middle schooler, a strong willed pre-teen and a destructive monkey boy. They're cake compared to Katrina and Landon and all the vampires surrounding them. I've found that the trick is in the determination and open mindedness. No matter the storyline, there are going to be hiccups along the way. A writer must disregard social stigma and allow ideas to flow onto paper and those pesky writer's blocks will not be so frequent.


In the four year process of writing Taken, I realized a few things. First of all, writing is debilitating and invigorating all at the same time. You create these characters and these worlds and think you have utter control over them but, you're dead wrong. A strong creation will build their own personalities and take control of the story without you ever realizing. A good writer is simply a typing tool. Katrina is no longer my creation but a strong person herself.

Right now, you think I've fallen off the deep end. I haven't. Katrina was never supposed to be a Hunter and Landon was never supposed to fall in love with her. He was supposed to be turned and she was supposed to die at his hand!

The other, and most important, thing I've learned is that writing does not manifest itself into dollar signs. Simply sitting here and pouring my heart and soul onto paper will not make me a millionaire tomorrow. Don't write for fame and fortune. Write because you love it. Write hard and pray.

Let me return to my point. Writing is hard. You start with an idea that grows with vigor and ease. You type like the world depends on your words per minute. Then, unexpectedly, you find yourself stuck and staring at a condemning cursor blinking insults at you. Determination is the only thing that kept Taken from become an inactive member of the documents folder.

Read for FREE!




Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bannerman's Castle

Hudson Valley Photography
If you read Taken, you remember a brief mention of a castle at which Joseph arranged a meeting of the Cole Legacy. This location was my first inspiration for Lady Eleanor and Kol's home in the new world. I sometimes regret that in the three years since, I have chosen a new home (a topic for another day) though the Castle still resides in my dreams. In my writing, it still remains unnamed. In the real world, it goes by the name of Bannerman's Castle and rests on Pollepel Island in the Hudson River.

I remember vividly the day I was researching possible meeting places for the Legacy. Joseph said he would summon the family to the castle and all I could think was four days was not enough time for Lady Eleanor to travel to her homeland. Growing up in New England and having often crossed the Hudson River, I knew there were huge houses and wonderful castles littering the Hudson Valley, so I started googling.The photos posted on the Hudson Valley Photography website were so breathtaking that I knew right then and there I had to use them in some way.

As you can tell, the castle is in ruins giving me free reign to design the inside as I see fit. In my imagination, Lady Eleanor, bent over her cane, hobbles up the grand front staircase with the help of her youngest son, Joseph. A bird's eye view captures her white hair in it's typical tight bun and a long dress covered with a black cloak. Beside her, Joseph's brilliant ginger hair stands out against the darkening surroundings. Once inside, they hand their jackets over to the evening's hired servant and step forward through a set of grand french doors to the head of a large staircase to be met by the gleaming blue and green eyes of the Legacies children.
Photo by Neil Caplan via bannermancastle.org 

When I designed these scenes in Taken, the history of the castle didn't matter. I just needed a meeting place. As my writing builds, I find that I need to know the real history of the island. Without it, I can not weave it into the my own story as I have done with so many other true life events and locations.

The true history of Pollepel Island and Bannerman Castle are just as rich as that of the Cole Legacy. I will not attempt to summarize it here as I am just today grazing the subject. However, both  Hudson Valley Photography and bannermancastle.org have wonderful summaries on the subject!


Thursday, April 23, 2015

That time when you shouldn't click publish!

It occurred to me this morning that I haven't babbled at my beautiful audience in quite some time. Did you miss me? Don't answer that. I would prefer to believe you can't live without me.

So here I was, staring at the computer screen. I wish that damn cursor would quit winking at me. It's hard enough to concentrate without it's mocking me. As usual, I have a million things running through my head. Why are there phantasms at Felipe's house? How will I use them? What color should I paint the bathroom? I have to work in three hours. You know, the typical random stream of thought of a frantic mom.

Sometimes those thoughts lead me somewhere wonderful and fantastic. Today, just a cursor.

Blink. Are you going to use me?

Blink. I'm getting bored!

Blink. Maybe you should just go nap.

And then, I find myself personifying the cursor. Which leads to me playing a whole lesson through my head about personification. Which leads me to considering college in the fall. (Gag)
It's not writer's block. My head is overflowing with awesome story lines and colorful characters. It's more of a preoccupation with the millions of things I have to do.

Do you feel like you just wasted five minutes of your time reading a pointless blog post? I sure feel like I wasted ten minutes trying to write one...

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Free! Free!

Saturday mornings mean some kind of sporting event. Today is soccer. I can't really complain as it is the one sport my children play that doesn't leave me yawning and bored. And I've been told bringing a book to one of my child's sporting events is unacceptable. Only a true non-reader would say such revolting words. A book is NEVER unacceptable.

This brings me to today's topic. Books. Yes, I understand that the every day's topic is books. I don't need you to remind me. In fact, today's post is simply because I am to lazy to walk upstairs and grab my book!

She's such a cute volleyball player!
So, what aspect of books, you ask? Ebooks. They are everywhere. It makes transmitting the written word so much easier for us nerdy types who love to sit and ramble words into a computer, but let me ask you a question now. Do you feel that the fact that anyone can write and publish a book these days is hurting the book world?

Let me put it into the words of my favorite book reviewer over at Book-Attic. "I don't like to review indie books because they are usually so full of errors that I can't push through it. Sorry, no offense, Mom." No offense? No offense! What the heck. I would like to say I take offense, but I was just another one of the ill edited books in the ebook world for a while. I was in such a hurry to get my book out there and have the world fall in love with it so I could become J.K. Rowling rich that I didn't figure a few misplaced commas and grammar errors were a big deal. Then this happened.

It gets 5 stars for having an interesting story idea. It loses 3 stars for poor grammar and multiple spelling mistakes, repeatedly repeating the same word repeatedly and failing to maintain consistency. Humans can't become vampires until they are 18. Oh here is a grave of one who is 8. Vampires can only be permanently killed by 6 daggers that only one vampire hunter knows the location of (and is willing to die without sharing the location. After all, it isn't like that would be useful for a group of vampire hunters to know) but vampires are killed by getting their blood sucked out, shot, stabbed and impaled. The main character is uber important, but gets left with someone who is planning to kill her on her 17th birthday for 14 years. Oh and the same girl meets a boy and marries him after knowing him for 2 weeks, thereby making them both immortal. Not sure what book the other reviewers were reading, but it either wasn't this one or we have drastically different expectations for our reading material.                                                                    -Amazon Reviewer

Can you say ouch? When this review hit Amazon, I was dumbstruck. How could ANYONE be so hateful. I stewed for a few days. Made a few hateful posts on Facebook, then it hit me, this reviewer, though most of his reviews are not gracious, was right. So, I pulled it back and reread it and republished it. The only problem is now Taken is known for it's crap editing and repeatedly repetitive words.

So here, I offer it for free!!! All I ask is that you read it and review it somewhere online and comment back here with a link to that review. Good, bad or indifferent. Let me know what you think!

I will leave these links for 8 days, deleting them 4/19 at midnight. Share away!



Now, you have something to read at your soccer games as well! 

Oh, silly me. My book has been right at my elbow this whole time! Off to read.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

I know the title says Ramblings from the one and only Victoria Allred. Please forgive me, but I thought I would give Trent McNight a chance to shine. He recently sat down with Katrina Cole to discuss her view on a few points I touched upon in Taken.

Please beware as I have not yet read the interview. Trent McNight, while he has many dirt digging questions, does not always heed to the no spoilers clause. He has asked me to publish his interview in submitted form. He assures me he's looked over it more than once for errors, however, let's be honest. The man is all emotion and no logic.

Without further ado...


An interview with Katrina Cole




Trent: First things first, did you ever get to actually sit down and watch Dracula.

Katrina: Yes, I did. What an event that was.

Trent: What did you think?

Katrina: If you hold the movie in the context of the time period, I’m sure it was a pretty scary storyline. A vampire out to steal a woman’s attention, from the man she is to marry. That’s scary stuff in such a straight laced society. If you hold it in the context of our world today, it’s hilarious. Landon wasn’t wrong about that. It’s Halloween decorations!

Trent: Is it at all realistic?

Katrina: Yes and no. Jean Claude is able to pull the girls from their homes with a simple thought. He was quite fond of terrorizing the French countryside with his summoning powers. But, no, vampires do not sleep in coffins, they can leave the soil of their homeland and they do not turn into bats.

Trent: What would you say to women today trying to protect them from vampires? Maybe a few tips to keep our people safe from influence?

Katrina: That’s actually much trickier than you would think. First of all, these fiends look like humans. You could be a vampire if I didn’t have the training to know otherwise. Second, they are faster and stronger than a human. If they chose you, chances are you’re done for. So no, protection isn’t truly possible unless you build yourself a silver suit of armor and wear it at all times.

Trent: That’s not reassuring.

Katrina: It wasn’t meant to be. Let’s be realistic. Vampires are everywhere. I guarantee you pass at least a dozen on the street every day. The good thing for you is that most vampires are just beings trying to live their life to the fullest. They live off blood donations, just enough to keep them animated. If the Cole Legacy put down every vampire we passed, it would cut our world population dramatically. 

Trent: (chuckling) Would that really be so bad?

Katrina: That is a conversation for another day, Trent.

Trent: How is your training coming along?

Katrina: I can hit a bulls eye with a throwing knife from fifty yards and I have learned how to make the effluvium myself. But the literature, that’s the tricky stuff. It’s so full of double meanings and deeper context. The death of a flower can either be just a flower or it can represent the youth of a young lady as she gives herself over to the gods to pass through her initiation rites. And just when you tackle and completely understand one poem, another is thrust your way and you find yourself questioning everything you believed up ‘til that moment. It’s exhausting.

Trent: I'm sorry to hear that. Let's switch gears. The readers of Taken have one very controversial question to ask you. What was it like to find out that your brother and only family member was—

Katrina: Trent, stop. I will tell you that it was heart wrenching and I would hate to see anyone have to go through what I went through with Edmond. I still have that dream of him saving me from the fire. The fact that he pulled me from a burning house and saved my life will never change and for that he will always be my hero. As far as the other stuff, he was brainwashed plain and simple.  

Now before we go on, I would like to remind you that many of our listeners today have not read my story and I would like to deter you from giving away too many details from the book.

Trent: My apologies ma’am. How is your relationship with Landon?

Katrina: It couldn’t be better. He is turning out to be the best choice I’ve ever made. Now, if only is dirty socks would make into the laundry basket and not onto the floor beside it. 

Trent: Children?

Katrina: We have two thousand years, what’s the rush?

Trent: If any of our readers here today have not yet read Taken, how would they go about doing so?

Katrina: From what I understand, Victoria has left quite a few places to get a copy. Smashwords is free. Kindle is 99 cents or she also has a Create Space store for paperback copies. 

Trent: And signed copies?

Katrina: Email her at victoriaallredauthor@gmail.com.

Trent: Thank you so much for being with us today, Katrina. I hope the future is bright for you.

Katrina: Thank you for having me, Trent. 





Trent McNight has been interviewing the stars for longer than he can remember. Everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Charlie Brown has sat across the table from him and answered the hard pressed questions. Without his expertise, the world would have no true insight into the inner workings of such individuals. It was his brilliance that first uncovered Jennifer Lawrence's food obsession! 



Well, that was truly interesting. I really wasn't aware of the immense vampire population. I do, however, wonder if Lady Eleanor would have a different answer as to how a woman can protect herself from summoning. I will have to ask her and get back to you on that.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I'm a horrible blogger; I am aware of that. My blog does not fit the two main requirements for hosting a successful blog.
  1. Posts are sporadic. A post here and there. Maybe five a week. Maybe one in six months. The excitement is in the surprise!
  2. Posts are beyond random. My blog is like a box of chocolates. You never know what your ganna get!
Now, I'm sure if I dug deep down I could find some Gilmore Girl reference here. Don't tempt me. Instead, I went with a Supernatural gif of Dean, as Jared Padalecki will always be known to me.

Today, in an effort to follow some sort of writing/promotion theme, I'm going to tell you a little story. Ready? Here we go.

Once upon a time, there was this mom. Now, she wasn't just the every day run of the mill mom. She overflowed with quirkiness into every aspect of her very full life. This mom - we'll call her Tammy for the sake of this story - also had a vivid imagination. Tammy didn't see a run down gas station. She saw a man flicking a cigarette into an abandoned building and it exploding in a ball of flames. A kid walking to the bus stop was never just a kid. He became the next big hero in a world ridden with villains. She could spin a story from anything and often did.

One day, Tammy was sitting in a Women's Lit/Gender Studies class. While she should have been listening to some boring lecture about Emily Dickinson, her muse whispered in her ear. "Have you considered exactly how curiosity killed the cat?"

I'm sorry,reader. Did you have a question?

No, this is not my story. This is Tammy's story. Any similarities to real people or events are merely coincidental. May I continue?

Thank you.

So, Tammy started thinking about that cat. Being engrossed in both the vampire trope and Harry Potter, she wondered, What if, Draco Malfoy were a vampire and Katrina was just an innocent girl. From there, spun the most ridiculous story of a teenage girl being abducted in a library and waking up a vampire.


I've read it. It was ridiculous. Full of silly puns and idioms out the wazoo. Maybe one day I will dig it up. Or ask Tammy to do so, that is.

Seriously, another question? What is it?

Have you read Taken? That's ridiculous. The Draco I fashioned is in no way related to Tammy's ridiculous character. My Draco is a sexy 6'2" African American man who protects people. He would never, and I mean never, consider abducting a teenage girl for shits and giggles! That's preposterous!

I need a moment. You've gotten me all worked up. Watch this video while I calm down.



I feel better. Shall I continue?

Wonderful.

Tammy didn't stop there. She wrote many stories over the next few months. Many of which were so awful they came to nothing.

I know, I know. You are wondering what the point of this awful story could possibly be and if I am ever going to get to it. Well, here it is.

I took something away from Tammy's courage and eagerness. I decided it was time to funnel my quirks into something written and thus I began blogging. It is my hope that you will become so enamored with my random and often sarcastic wit that you will keep coming back for more ridiculousness.



 

I feel that this post has come to an abrupt end, but seeing as how you have just taken up close to 45 minutes of my precious and rare writing time, I feel I must go. If you have any questions about Tammy, Draco or my anything else minutely referenced today, feel free to comment below. I will be sure to get back to you.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

If you've read Taken, you most likely threw the book at the wall when you finished. Or, you flipped through the few blank pages in the back searching for more. Or, as many did, sent me messages with horrible names in them. Don't worry, I hold no grudges.

Yes, it's a cliff hanger. And yes, I did it on purpose. I know how frustrating it is now, but just think how much better the reveal will be when L&F2 finally surfaces. Don't fret. It's a work in progress. It took me four years to write Taken. We are turning the corner into year two for it's sequel. Give it a few more... 

That's not the point here. I wanted to show you what I made today. It's not words on a page, though it will help me further understand this world I've created and bring you more words on a page. Maybe it will even help me to write those words faster? (did you see me shrug? I shrugged.)

Drum roll please... What you already scrolled down and looked! Cheater!

Please don't be too upset at the quality here. I took the picture with my iPad. Plus it's quantity, not quality. Oh nevermind.

 So, this is Jarth. I had a big long explanation as to where the name Jarth came from but I will be concise. The Norse word for earth, ground or soil is jǫrð. I've seen it transferred to Latin letters as both jar and jord. In the end, I mashed all my findings together and named it Jarth. In Torian, that means earthen house. There we have the name for the Cole Legacy home.

I am well aware of how badly you want to know where it's located, who lives in it, why it's there, how old it is. I get that so... I guess I will get to putting words on my page.

Don't forget to enter your shelfie for a signed copy of Taken. Enter Here!


*Torian- the official language of Tori!

Monday, March 30, 2015

I've been living in a fog. Spring is in the air meaning my garden is begging for attention, yet so are my children. Sports and extracurriculars are beginning to overlap so I get to drive around town a couple extra times a week. All this makes for a very tired Mommy and I apologize for my sudden absence from your world as well.

On top of all this, I started reading Game of Thrones. Let me just take a minute to say, WOW. I heard that it was good and I know everyone loves the show. However, I didn't expect to be quite so enthralled. It's wonderful. I love the dimension of the characters. I love all the hidden symbolism. I love the way the mythology is twisted into it. I could keep rambling... In short, I love it!



In honor of my distractions and the fact that it's springtime and just because I'm feeling generous, I would like to giveaway a book! It's really simple. Take a picture of your bookshelf and add that picture as a comment on this facebook post! Next Monday, I will pick a winner at random and send a signed book!


 Victoria Allred on Facebook.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday? Already?

I had big plans this week. I was to write by morning and go places by afternoon and crash by evening. Well, things didn't turn out as I had planned. We had an EXTREMELY lazy spring break and I have to say, I enjoyed it. Granted, I didn't get much new material written, I did get... nope didn't do much of that either.
 I guess I really didn't accomplish anything. Well, sometimes even the badasses need a few days do sit around and do nothing.  Excuse my while I return to my coffee. Turns out I need a little more before I can form full sentences.


How about a snippet from a time I could complete a thought? 

With each quickening footfall, the scent became stronger. The bitter smell of the forager’s blood didn’t compare in any way to that of a young man on the hunt. A human comparison would be the magnetism of an overly salty bag of potato chips opposed to the sweet fragrance of a king size candy bar. Both cause the mouth to water and satiate taste buds, but in very different ways.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

GOOD MORNING!

Well, it's Saturday. Yesterday was the first day of spring break. While that means I will not be called into work as the schools are closed for the next week, it also means my kids are home all week. It also means, I get to write old school style with pen and paper in the randomest of places. Do you think they would frown on me writing at the zoo?

You may say a good mom would put her writing aside for the week and focus diligently on her children. They are only going to be little once, right? I understand that they will grow up and move out of my house someday and I will look back at the time I sat at this computer typing away and wish I had spent more time with them. Honestly though, doesn't EVERY parent everywhere do that in some aspect of raising kids. I wish I didn't work so much. I wish I had hugged them more. I wish I had taken them more places.

The way I see it, I am forcing my children to be self-sufficient for a few hours a day. So many children are catered to day and night, that many can't do simple tasks such as pour a bowl of cereal or find a way to entertain themselves. Forcing my children to do so while I pound away at this keyboard, does two things. It prepares them for a world where no one will be there to wait on them hand and foot and allows me to create some glimmer of insight or fantastic fiction to send into the universe!

I'm sorry. That soap box is just so hard to ignore. My point? You will probably not hear from me much this week! But don't worry, I will be writing! Hey, I may even post a few reviews of the places I go! There are some wonderful parks in Kansas!

If you miss me too much, find me at any of the millions of social media sites I've taken residence on!


I am sure there are many more, but here are just a few ways to get your Tori fix! Or, you could read Taken!




Monday, March 9, 2015

Randomness

The polar bear make me feel better. He's kinda cute, huh?
Good Morning!! I have something embarrassing to share. Actually, I don't get embarrassed easily, so I guess I just have something to share.

Let's frame it out. During my talk with the middle schoolers Friday, one of the students asked me when I write and I told him all the time. Anytime something comes to me, I rush to put it on paper. (I didn't share with him the time I was writing on an envelope on the highway. shh.)  I also told him how my kids have learned when to speak to me and when not. They've also learned to do a lot more for themselves because I will not stop in the middle of a thought to cater to them. Said student wasn't quite sure how to respond. His facial expression was somewhere between amused and appalled.

Ok, so this is what happened. I went to put Aidan's lunch box in his backpack this morning and guess what I found. All the school work he was supposed to have finished from his sick day Thursday. I totally forgot because I was so focused on revamping Taken. To make matters worse, my oldest comes out crying at 7:20 because she had homework too! I would say that is a serious mom fail! 

Epic. Mom. Fail.

Moral of the story? Tend to your children before diving into a book! Yeah, right. I'm sure it will happen again . . . Don't judge. I still have three very happy and healthy children (and their homework will be done tonight).

Change of subject. What do you think of this? It's just a thought, but please, comment. It's better than Taken, right?

Happy Monday! 

May your day be filled with-- Who am I kidding it's Monday. I hope you make it, through!
 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Am I successful?

I'm going to speak to a few middle school students today about being a writer. These are students who have vocalized an interest in such a career. A large part of me wants to scream from the rooftops about how good it feels to be recognized; a larger part of me wants to hide under the covers.

It's just so intimidating. I'm not a successful writer. Yes, I can write. I sit at my computer and write all day some days. On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, even here occasionally. On a very rare occasion something of substances flows from my fingers into a word document. Truthfully, I don't get paid to write. I submit works of fiction that are often unpublished. I made a whopping, wait for it, $12.54 off my eBook on Amazon last year. I do so because it brings me pleasure.

I said I'm not successful. Some days I agree with that and some days I heavily disagree. What is it to be a successful writer? J.K. Rowling is a fluke. Yes, she gave us the most read work of humankind, but this happens once in a millennium. Authors rarely make such ridiculous amounts of money. Let's look at Suzanne Collins. Few people know she wrote for children's television shows before creating Hunger Games. And withe the cult following of that work, her other series, The Underland Chronicles, came out of the woodwork.

With all this in mind, can I consider myself a successful writer? I mean, I can string sentences together and sometimes in logical order? I may not sell many books, but each day I learn new things. Each day, I tweak my craft just enough to see myself blossom.

I believe there are two levels of success. First would be the ability to put forth legible, interesting works of literature. Second being the ability to make some kind of income doing so. The second very much depends upon the first. If you can not create the work, you can not make money doing so.

OK. I am pretty sure this post is very much all over the place. (If you made it this far, pat yourself on the back!) Consider it a bit of stream of consciousness with some true insight splattered throughout! I have, however, managed to pump myself up for today's meeting. Now, just to shower and leave before I lose my nerve...


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Writing Mommy

I sat down to write a really awesome blog post about how much I write and what I write about and what gives me inspiration. BUT (yup there it is) as I clicked to post that awesome gif of Jenny Schecter, my kids all woke up. It's as if the click of the mouse signified my need to be productive and it woke everyone up!!

I will admit, trying to write while raising children is an endless challenge. Especially if I have a productive work week (I sub at the local elementary school) and I can only write when they are home. I know I'm not the only human being that is trying to make a substantial contribution to the literary world while dealing with other obligations. It's just that when you are in the midst of a huge breakthrough and your children say, "Hey, Mom" all those little inspirational birdies fly away never to return.

For instance, I rewrote the last sentence three time while fighting with a six year old about buying gold bricks in some stupid Lego game on the iPad. (No, I will not go down the I hate technology road. You're welcome.)

So, how do I keep going? Well, I write. (stops to answer my husband's phone call.) Between phone calls and cooking meals and breaking up fights, I write. On anything I can get my hands on.  Anywhere I find inspiration.

Now, I must get something done before someone realizes I just wrote a whole blog post!

The way I see it, someday I will get a few minutes of silence to...  (did I mention it's a snow day here?)
 


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Be Inspirational


I have been discouraged by the endless refusal emails from agents and the rock bottom sales of my first book, Taken. The only people reading my story are those I either give a free copy to or those who have been with me since the beginning. I even donated two copies to the library and they haven't left the shelf!


That being said, my very wonderful sister in law sent me this inspirational video this morning as a much needed pick me up. The truth is, everyone must fail! If you haven't failed, you will not appreciate the success, at least that's what I tell myself so I can sleep at night. Even JK Rowling was refused 12 times before a publisher picked up Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and now it is the number one most translated book in the world. Every child in the world truly does know the name Harry Potter!



 

A paranormal story where teenagers don't fall in love with vampires! Those don't exist, do they?

Katrina is to be an immortal vampire hunter, backed by a family of 2000 year old hunters of the Cole Legacy. Once they pair with the leading Confederation of Vampires, will they succeed in ridding the world of the biggest threat to every living (an undead) being?

Riddled with Norse mythology, the story that unfolds is one of love and support, but don't let that fool you. This is not your daughter's vampire story! Vampires kill humans. Humans banish vampires. And above all, human instincts are still very much in tact! 



The publishing world is a hard universe to hack into. When I first set out, my plan was to self-publish, sell millions of copies and then a publisher would have to pick me up. Theoretically, that was a great plan. Realistically, not so much. More than one agent has informed me publishers don't want a previously self-published work. One even stated that the story sounded wonderful but come back to us before you publish your next work. To quote Shark Tale, "It's a fish eat fish world."

Others have stated that in a market flooded with vampires, a new story must have an immense twist of some kind. I truly believe my twist will blow readers away. Vampire hunters endorsed by none other than Odin himself and vampires working for... Ha, you thought I'd tell you! 

I know you are asking yourself what the point of this post was. Why would you write a pity party article and actually post it online? Do you have no self respect? 

My point is that everything in life worth having is a struggle. It took me four years to write Taken. Sales are nonexistent, but that hasn't stopped me from pushing along with the sequel. If you live by a half glass full attitude, there really is nowhere to go but up!

 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Read 2015

What?! Two posts in one day? Relax I stole this from Book Attic. (Seriously, copy and paste and everything. Shh don't tell.)

I am setting a goal for myself this year to read 50 books. I will most likely increase as I go. Also, I will be trying to complete the 2015 Reading Challenge.

The goal is to read:


  • A book with 500+ pages Game of Thrones
  • A classic romance
  • A book with antonyms in the title
  • A book that became a movie
  • A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit
  • A book published this year
  • A book that came out the year you were born
  • A book with a number in the title
  • A book written by someone under 30
  • A book with bad reviews
  • A book with nonhuman characters
  • A trilogy
  • A funny book
  • A book from your childhood  A Princess Bride by William Goldman 
  • A book by a female author
  • A book with a love triangle
  • A mystery or thriller
  • A book set in the future
  • A book with a one-word title
  • A book set in high school
  • A book you can finish in a day


I will cross off the goal AND add a book book title in red as I go! Top that Mak!

Hey! Let's make this a challenge. Can you finish your list before I finish mine?


Take Control of Your Health

So.... It's flu season. This year I have been fortunate enough to work in the public schools. I love every minute of it. Even as a sub, I get the satisfaction of seeing the light bulb blink on when students understand things for the first time. And as a sub, I am blessed with the ability to touch more lives! However, I wish they could keep their germs to themselves.

How about a little back story. I know. Who really cares, right? Well, I'm hoping that my experiences will help others with some of the same problems. I have psoriasis. Not really health impeding at this point but truly miserable, disgusting, and embarrassing. I can't wear dark clothing because... Well, I won't be too graphic.

Last winter, I had had enough. I decided it was time to see a dermatologist seriously. Of course, I'd been before. They've suggested over the counter medications, shampoos, oils, steroid creams. You name it; I've tried it. I even asked about tanning. See, one of the causes of psoriasis is a vitamin D deficiency which your body makes with the absorption of UV rays. The doctor flew off the handle. The gist of it, I am entirely too susceptible to skin cancer to spend any time in a tanning bed.

After a lot of discussion, he prescribed Methotrexate. I figured, if I was able to step into a classroom without students asking me what's wrong with my head, the side effects were well worth the risks. For a few months, that was true. I even bough black shirts!

http://www.joyfuldrops.com/joyfulblog/
Somewhere along the line, it stopped being effective. Now, it's flu season. While I normally have a solid immune system from spending so much time with children, this year seems to be quite different. I have caught nearly every sneeze and sniffle that the students have. It appears that the side effects of the medication is catching up with me. And I don't know about you, but a cancer fighting medication should not list lymphoma as a side effect.


This is where I get to the point! I have been chosen to participate along with a group of bloggers to take what I'm dubbing The Joyful Drops Challenge. Starting early next week, I will blog through my experience. As the picture says, it's time to take control of your health and that's just what I plan to do.