Speaks the Nightbird, and other book stuff

Speaks the Nightbird, and other book stuff

Hats off to all the book bloggers out there who can read a book in no time and then put together thorough and exhaustive reviews. I read lots of them, but I’m not a very good book reviewer myself. I don’t spend a lot of time analyzing story arcs and themes and plot twists. For me, when it comes to book-talk, I either like a book or I don’t.  So, you won’t find me getting down and dirty writing huge reviews about books very often.

The Bookworm

That said… I just finished SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD, by Robert McCammon, and fell in love with Matthew Corbett, the main character. Set in 1699 in Colonial US, this is a thriller/mystery/love story/witch story that literally had my heart pounding in my chest by chapter three and didn’t let me go until the end. It is a huge book (2-volumes in one) in paperback, but still I wanted more.

I thought I was new to McCammon, but it turns out he’s written many mainstream thrillers that I’ve read over the years. There is a freaky scene in his book MINE that I read many years ago that I will probably never forget.

So, if you’re looking for something to sweep you off your feet and keep you for a while, check out this one… it’s a series!  I’m reading QUEEN OF BEDLAM now, the #2:

Speaks the Nightbird (Matthew Corbett, #1)Speaks the Nightbird by Robert R. McCammon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved all 792 pages of this story. Wishing for more!

View all my reviews

Zombie Candy Blog Tour
Earlier this month, I took part in my friend Frederick Lee Brooke’s blog tour for his new book ZOMBIE CANDY. You can read my post about it here. The tour, run by Novel Publicity, was really impressive in its scale–and so well done. There were hundreds of blogs being written, reviews and interviews, lots of stuff.  What I thought was interesting was the contest portion of the tour. Bloggers and the public were eligible for different prizes, from books to Amazon gift cards to a Kindle Fire.

I won Amazon gift cards for $100 for best blog post, and $50 for best zombie joke! How awesome is that?  I can’t wait to dig in to that and load up my kindle. Twitter was abuzz with Zombie Candy talk, and there was so much going on at Facebook, Goodreads, and, of course, blogs. My blog also saw a bump in activity from people popping over to read my post. So, keep your eye on the happenings over at Novel Publicity. For authors looking to market their wares, and for bloggers to get involved in some great writerly-community happenings, they seem to really have a bead on it. And I had a great time. :)


In case you’ve been doing the same and therefore not noticed my inactivity… summer is here and once again my time is now wholly my own. This time last year I was just getting back from 7 whole days away at the Norman Mailer Writer’s Colony.  *sigh*

I’m uber excited to be in the home stretch on my final edits… wahoo for me! Coming up later this summer I’ll be heading to SCBWI in LA this August.

So, what’s happening with you?

Cover Reveal: CIAO by Bethany Lopez

Cover Reveal: CIAO by Bethany Lopez
I’m pleased to be able to take part in my friend Bethany Lopez’s new book Cover Reveal Tour for CIAO, book 3 in the Stories about Melissa series! 
Synopsis:Melissa has had a fantastic summer, hanging out with her friends and making new ones. Life as she knows it will change when they all come together to begin their sophomore year at Dearborn High. Connections will be made and friendships will be tested. Will Melissa’s family and friends be able to help her through the challenges she will face in the upcoming months.

Bethany Lopez was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in Michigan and San Antonio, Texas. She went to High School at Dearborn High, in Dearborn, Michigan, which is where she has set her Young Adult novels. She is married and has a blended family with five children. She is currently serving in the United States Air Force as a Recruiter in Los Angeles, California. She has always loved to read and write and has seen her dream realized by independently publishing her contemporary Young Adult series, Stories about Melissa. Ta Ta for Now! and  xoxoxo are available now. Book three, Ciao, will be released in Aug 2012.


Connect with Bethany Lopez:


My author friend Frederick Lee Brooke is having a week long blog party tour to celebrate the release of his new book, ZOMBIE CANDY.   There is a contest! There are prizes!  The prizes include $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book. All the details are below…  – but wait! 

I have composed a poem about the book, just for you.

a poem by Corinne O’Flynn
about the book by Frederick Lee Brooke

Hubby’s home from his business trip
Then into his man cave for a zombie flick
You’ve tried to join him, but it doesn’t ring true
The zombies hold no allure for you

You unpack his bag, your chore since forever
But this time you’re totally shocked to discover
The feel of the fabric is foreign, that’s clear
As you pull out one tiny, black, lacy, brassiere
You don’t need a mirror to know it’s true
This little black number can’t belong to you
What now, you ask? Is it all over, then?
Enter your friend, dear Annie Ogden
We met Annie back in DOING MAX VINYL
After duty tours, her third was her final
She’s returned home with her very own set
of personal baggage that brings a cold sweat

Together they hatch and scheme and they plan
They can’t let him off the hook, this man
Let’s teach him a lesson, some shock and awe
To combat one black inappropriate bra

What happens next? You’re invited to read
A fun, dark, book, you’ll devour with speed
You’ll learn about so many things as you go
Like: never ever ask for some cilantro


As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Zombie Candy eBook
edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this
fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many
awesome prizes. The prizes include $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Purchase your copy of Zombie Candy for just 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event

About the book: Weaving elements of mystery, horror and romance in a hilarious romp that starts in Chicago and ends in a quaint medieval town in sun-drenched Tuscany, Zombie Candy is a genre-hopping knee-slapper of a novel. Get it on Amazon.

About the author: Frederick Lee Brooke has worked as an English teacher, language school manager and small business owner and has travelled extensively in Tuscany, the setting of part of Zombie Candy. Visit Fred on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Thoughts on Scrivener Software

Thoughts on Scrivener Software

Back in January I posted here asking for any feedback on Scrivener software. I remember at the time being so completely inundated with paper and as it was January and the New Year was upon me, I am pretty sure I was doing a new-year-desk-cleaning and trying hard to turn over a new leaf on the cluttered-and-messy-office front. 

So as I’ve been hunkered down inside my writerly cave these past month getting the final bits in place on the novel, it occurs to me that I have been terribly lax on ze blog, and I have yet to follow up on my thoughts after months of using Scrivener.  So here goes…

The short answer: I love it.

The longer answer: Scrivener has transformed my process.

The even longer answer: As an organizing and efficiency dreamer, I thought I had stumbled upon some ginormous secret when I found Scrivener. It was everything I never knew I could ask for in the organized-writer category, and more.

I was initially drawn to it for the research folder. The idea of going paperless with all the bits and pieces and websites and source materials I tend to gather for my novels made me giddy.

I’m using less paper (and ink): The first thing I did was go to my stack of research and pull out all the web-based stuff I’d printed out, returned to that URL and reprinted all that stuff as a PDF, scanned the rest, and brought them all into Scrivener as files. Some of the web-based stuff I just cut and pasted into my source files with a link to the source URL within the page. The reason I don’t just save the links is because this one time I saved a link to something totally awesome and when I went back, the site was gone. So, by all means, document URLs meticulously, but my experience tells me it that the wise researcher grabs a permanent slice of the things she plans to use down the road.

Instant-On File Saving. Writing that reminds me of that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine and Jerry go check out an apartment for rent and in the add it says IOL as a feature of the rental. When they asked, the landlord switched on the light and said, “See, Instant On Lighting!”

Since making the switch to Scrivener, I have not lost a single piece of my work to computer saving issues. Scrivener saves everything all the time. You can still go to the File/Save process, but I no longer worry about stepping away for a second and coming back to find my kids had shut something down or the system froze and whatever I was doing was lost. It is such a fabulous change.

Draft management made easy. When you use Scrivener, you have total control over how to break your work up. I choose to work in chapters one at a time, but you could drill down further into scenes within chapters if you like and organize that way too.

As I have been working on my final draft, I’ve found myself revamping whole chapters of the book. But sometimes I am not sure if I want to keep this new draft and might want to revert back to the old.

There is a neat Roll-Back feature where you can take a snapshot of the current version (it actually is a little camera icon complete with camera sounds!) and save the old version in case you decide to roll back to the old. You can save many roll back copies in your file and pick and choose to bounce between them, all from the place where you took the snapshot.

Super simple exporting. Got critique partners? I belong to two critique groups and I’m also enrolled in a writing class where I need to send various parts of my book to others. When I did this in word, I would cut and paste the section from the original file into a new file. Save that and move on. This was slow and cumbersome for me. Scrivener “compiles” your work with a click and you choose which sections are included in each compile. So simple. Once I got the hang of it, it has been a Godsend.

Which brings me to: Scrivener comes with an excellent video tutorial. It is a couple of hours long, but it is organized so well using the software (go figure) that you can break it into chunks. Trying to dive into this program without watching the tutorial is possible, but there are SO MANY fabulous features and concepts and ideas in the tutorial that you’d never discover on your own. Or if you did, you might find it down the road and say, damn – I wish I had known. So, take the time for the tutorial, you’ll be glad you did.

The bottom line: Scrivener is worth a try for anyone who has to organize a writing project.  And its inexpensive!  Go check it out: Scrivener