Saturday, February 25, 2012

Not Spring Yet

This is what it looks like outside my house right now.
Good thing I planned to stay in and write anyway...

Has Deborah Lost Her Mind? The Boots Version

Let me start out by saying that I am not a shoe person, per se. I don't even like to wear shoes, if I can avoid it. (Yes, I am an old hippie--why do you ask?)

I have plenty of shoes. More than I need, probably, despite not being one of those women who buys shoes. But most of my foot gear is flat and practical: clogs, low sandals, slumpy boots.

Which is why the picture you are currently looking at is a clear sign that I have lost my freaking mind. (Yes, I actually consider myself to be reasonably sane most of the time--why do you ask?)

I was leaving work yesterday and as I walked past the shoe store next door to my shop, I saw these boots through the window. Stopped me cold in my tracks. (And not just because it was snowing, and I actually WAS cold.) I looked at the boots. Then I looked at the big "SALE" sign. And despite my recent (and relatively successful) resolution to stop buying things I didn't need, I went into the store, tried them on, and bought them. All in about three minutes.

For one thing, they were on an insane sale: originally $64, on sale for $12.50--even with tax, I spent less than $13. But that's not why I bought them. I bought them because when I looked at them, they made me happy. When I picked them up, I felt joy. Why? I have no idea. They have freaking THREE INCH HEELS, for goddess's sake. I don't know where I'll wear them, except maybe at a conference somewhere. (Now if this had been a REALLY good sale, the boots would have come with a date. LOL.)

So, have I lost my mind? Apparently. But you know, they're sitting in the middle of the table right now, and they still make me happy. So I guess that's okay.

Have you found joy in something unexpected lately? I'd love to hear about it....

Friday, February 24, 2012

Feline Friday--Just Say Ahhhhhhh

It's Friday. Thanks the gods. All together now, let's just take a deep breath and relax....


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Writing Supervisor, Magic the Cat

Some people can write anywhere--the local coffee shop, a busy office, even a living room with a hubby watching loud football. Not me. Not that I have a hubby, of the sports-watching or any other variety. But I do my best writing in a quiet space with no one else around.

Except my supervisor, Magic the Cat, of course. You can see her here, in her usual position.

Yes, I literally have a cat watching over my shoulder as I write. How else can she be sure I don't screw it up?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nag, Nag, Nag...a Few Gentle Reminders

I've decided to make Tuesdays "Nag My Readers Day." No? How about "Blatant Self-Promo Day"? Otherwise known as "Remind me not to go to Deborah's blog on Tuesdays Day" (cough). Don't worry too much though--I'll probably have forgotten the plan by next Tuesday.

Today, I just wanted to remind you that my paranormal romance ebook is still available at Amazon for the low, low price of $2.99 -- tell all your friends. And maybe the mailman, your manicurist, and strangers you accost on the streets. Really, I'm not proud. (And the sales so far have been...kind of disappointing, so a few new ones would REALLY cheer this author up.)
You can also find the book in Nook form here:

More importantly, registration for the upcoming "Spells & Spell Casting" class over at the new workshop loop closes at 6 PM this coming Sunday, so if you are interesting in taking part in the class--suitable for both witches and authors writing witch characters--you only have a few days left to sign up here:

I will now return you to your regularly scheduled Hope it is a great one!

Friday, February 17, 2012

February Writing Report #1

I know that some of you are fans of my writing (bless you!) and many of you are also writers, so I've decided to start posting periodic reports on my current writing process. Feel free to chime in with what you're working on and how it's going in the comments!

You can also check to see how I'm doing by watching the new little word-count meter I added up top. I'm aiming at 90,000 words for the WIP (work in progress, for those of you who don't speak Author Jargon), although you never really know how long a book is going to be until it is done. And then you edit it, and it can change by a lot, so you still don't know. Urgh.

The main project I'm working on at the moment is a post-apocalypse romance called "Seeds of Change." It has some small paranormal elements to it, and something of an urban fantasy feel, since it takes place in the aftermath of a catastrophic worldwide disaster caused by genetic seed manipulation gone wrong. [Side note: in researching the novel, I found out WAY more than I wanted to know about GMO's and Monsanto. Be afraid. Be very afraid.]

It doesn't sound like a cheery book, I know. In truth, it is darker than most of the things I've written. But the story itself is about survival, and hope, and the reader will end up (if I do it right) rooting for the two main protagonists: Alysia (a Wiccan) and Wolf (a Native American...and a hunk--if I could sleep with one of my characters, I'm telling you, he's the one).

I'd actually started working on the novel back in October--just doing research, some character and world building, and writing the first couple of chapters to get a feel for Alysia and Wolf. (The characters often come to me most clearly as I am writing them.) The story really fought me, though, and I finally had to set it aside to deal with the holiday rush and making jewelry to sell during The Season.

When I picked the story up again in January, it was still fighting me. I just couldn't get into it. But I'd promised my agent, Elaine Spencer, I'd work on this one. So I did some brainstorming with pals Candace Havens and Heather Long, and got through another couple of chapters. Did some more research. Then some brainstorming with my main CP (critique partner) Lisa DiDio. Wrote another chapter.

Then something amazing happened. The words started to flow, the story decided it wanted to be told after all, and three weeks later, I've written 37,666 words. As you can see from the meter, that brings me to a total of 48K and change as of last night, and that, people, is 53% of the book. (Assuming it actually turns out to be 90K, and frankly, who knows.) Whew.

This is as close to writer's block as I've come since I returned to serious writing, many years ago. (We're not counting the 15+ years in which I wrote nothing at all. That wasn't a block, that was not trying, and that's something else entirely.) It was scary. And unpleasant. But as you can see, muscling through it and refusing to give up--and knowing when to ask for a little help from my friends--got me through to the other side.

Although, interestingly enough, I think the most helpful thing I did was to start writing something else: a silly, fun, humorous paranormal romance with the horrible temporary title of "I Met God at Starbucks." I was just doing it for me, to get the words flowing again, but it really helped me to recapture that love of writing. I'll probably go back and finish it at some point, just for the heck of it.

By the end of the month, I hope to be at 70K with Seeds of Change, and have a completed outline for the rest of the book. (At this point, I'm outlining about three chapters ahead of where I am--not my usual practice at all, which is usually to outline the entire book before I start. What can I say...each book is different, and I just do what the voices in my head tell me.)

So--just so I know--is this the kind of thing you're interested in reading about on this blog, or did I just bore the pants off you all? And what are you working on, writing or otherwise?

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be My Valentine

I may not have a significant other to share my Valentine's Day with, but I have something that might be even better...

LOTS and lots of wonderful folks who come here, follow me on Twitter and Facebook, read (and sometimes even buy) my books, and generally support me in a thousand little ways.

Big Valentine kisses go out especially to the lovely Heather Long (who helped me set up and run the new workshop loop), my agent Elaine Spencer (who works tirelessly to move my writing career forward), Elysia Gallo (best editor on the planet), and Lisa DiDio, best critique partner on the planet.

And many heartfelt thanks to you, my readers. Without you, there would be no point in writing.

Will you be my Valentine? Please say you will!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thoughts on Valentine's Day & Missing Germambie

I have a confession. Valentine's day has never been one of my favorite days of the year. In fact--I mostly think it sucks. In the loud, blurpy way a dismal bog sucks as you walk through it and it eats one of your best shoes. Glub.

This is not a new dislike. Back in the days when I was married or seriously involved with someone, I tended to be with guys who didn't "do" romance well. Perfectly lovely in other ways, most of them didn't excel at cards and flowers. That's okay. Frankly, I'm not much of a romantic myself. I'd rather be treated well all year long than be showered with obligatory gifts on one particular day. But still...

These days, it is REALLY not my day. I haven't been in a relationship in over ten years, and at 51, living in a small town, pursuing mostly solitary activities, and (let's face it) belonging to what might seem to some an over-abundance of cats, the odds of my ever finding THE ONE seem to grow slimmer every day.

I'm okay with that, for the most part. Not happy about it--I'm a woman who likes to be part of a couple, and I miss a lot of things about having a guy in my life. I really miss sex, damn it. And it would be nice not to always be the one to take out the garbage. But I've made my peace with my solitary life, and am ever mindful (as I watch some of the people I love struggle with unhappy relationships) of the positives of being alone.

I get to eat what I want, when I want it. Never have to share the remote. Get to have a pile of felines on my bed without someone complaining about the fur. Peace and quiet. No arguments about who was supposed to have taken out the garbage. It's a good life. Not the one I'd hoped for, but a good life, none the less, and I refuse to let the lack of someone to share it with make it any less good.

But I really hate the way Valentine's Day kinda shoves that solitary-ness in my face. (Bite me, Hallmark. No, really. Bite me.)

This year, I have an even better reason not to like this day. A year ago tomorrow, on Valentine's Day 2011, I lost my beloved grandmother. The family called her Germambie, from my youthful inability to say "grandma" and then G.G., when she became a great-grandmother. She was the true love of my life: inspiration, supporter, cheerleader, baker of cookies and giver of hugs. I miss her more than I can say, although I know that, at almost 100 years old, we got a lot more time with her than we might have hoped. It wasn't enough.

Tomorrow, I will be thinking about love, in all its variations. And hoping that all of you have someone special to share your day with--furry or otherwise. If not, I highly recommend chocolate. Even if you have to give it to yourself :-)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Workshop #2 Spells and Spell Casting

As many of you know, I have started giving witchcraft (and a few writing) classes on my new workshop loop. The first class, Intro to Modern Witchcraft, premiered last month and was a huge success. Many of the folks who took that one immediately signed up for the next one, which means I must be doing something right :-)

The next class up is "Spells and Spell Casting," and it is aimed at those who want to know how to write and cast spells, cast them better, or learn the basics so that a character can cast them. (For the writers in the gang.)

Here is the info, and a link to sign up, should you be interested. I hope to see you there!

Witchcraft Workshop #2

Spells & Spell Casting

For: Those with a basic knowledge of the practice of Witchcraft who wish to learn how to write and cast spells; authors who want to accurately portray spell casting in their books
Time: 3 days

Cost: $15

Date: February 27-29

Class Outline

Day One: Spells—The Witch’s Power Tool

  • What is a spell?
  • What are the rules of spell casting? Can you really turn someone into a newt?
  • To cast, or not to cast, that is the question…
  • Why create your own spell?

Day Two: Pre-Casting Preparation

  • Setting a goal
  • Choose your “ingredients”
  • Writing the spell
  • A note for authors

Day Three: Casting the Perfect Spell

  • Focus, Will & Belief
  • Creating safe and sacred space
  • Casting the spell
  • After casting—be silent

Q & A Day Four

As always, the classes will be given on a special workshop loop available only to those who have signed up. It doesn't matter which time zone (or even country) you live in, since I will post the lessons in the morning each day, then come back periodically to answer questions and respond to comments. Any extra questions can be asked the day after the last lesson is posted. The book listed is the one of mine that will be most useful both before and after the class, but you don't need to have it to take the workshop.

Here is the link to sign up, should you wish to:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

WINNERS of the Sabbats Almanac and Datebook

GracieLou wins the Sabbats Almanac and Amber wins the Witches' Datebook.

Congrats to you both, and thanks to everyone who played along.

The winners should email me at magicmysticminerva at yahoo with their full names and mailing addresses.


Deborah, who loves giving things away

Thursday, February 9, 2012

10th 5 Star Review--with a Twist!

I saw yesterday that I was up to ten reviews for my paranormal romance ebook over on Amazon--all of them 5 Stars, which is very gratifying indeed!

(If you're one of the folks who left a review, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. With ebooks, this is even more important!)

I was reading the 10th review, which was very cute and very funny, when I discovered a surprise twist towards the end. It kind of tickled me, so I thought I'd post it here.

5.0 out of 5 stars Entrapment!, February 7, 2012
This review is from: Witch Ever Way You Can (Kindle Edition)
Entrapment! That's what it was. I get this innocent-looking e-mail, shamelessly promoting Deborah Blake's new novel, "Witch Ever Way You Can", and an invisible force causes me to click on a link that takes me to the Amazon website. I am invited to "look inside", but why should I? I rarely read novels and I never would read or watch anything dealing with the paranormal. I wasn't even slightly interested in checking into Harry Potter. But I'm slightly curious about this book, for reasons that I will explain later. So I click and get drawn into this hilarious opening scene of a midnight call from the world's 4th (or 5th) richest man to this sex-starved and skeptical witch (living with five cats) who tries to flip him off. Okay, so it's reasonably interesting. Let's see where this is going.

She decides to shove her cynicism aside and go to NYC to see him. But what will she wear. Like an old jock like me would give a damn? But here comes this vividly colorful scene of a gaggle of coven-mates rummaging through her closet in search of the right outfit. I can't wait for the motion picture. I hope Deborah held on to the movie rights. Now, drawn into the 3rd chapter, we have a titillating dinner scene (with her Hollywood idol, no less) that seriously challenges "When Harry Met Sally." But just when it gets interesting - she starts to stroke his leg with her shoeless foot - Whoops! Please deposit $2.99 for the rest of the story. Is this legal? It's not fair!

I'm hopelessly hooked. I'll sacrifice a bottle of the finest Two-buck Chuck to see where this goes. I call down to the wife "Hold all my calls and cancel my appointments. I'll be tied up for a while."

Now, in the way of full disclosure, I will shamelessly admit that the wonderfully talented and weird author is my eldest daughter. But still, you can't make this up. I don't read novels and I haven't the slightest interest in the paranormal. But I can't put this book down. And neither will you.

Tee hee. Now that's what I call a review. (Thank the GODS this isn't one of my books that has actual sex in it!) If you want to see the others, or check out the book, you can follow this link:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

GIVEAWAY! Sabbats Almanac and Witches' Datebook

I was neatening up the other day (no, really) and realized that I had an extra copy of this year's Llewellyn Sabbats Annual (Samhain 2011-Mabon 2012) and Witches' Datebook 2012. Since I contributed articles to both, I got 2 free copies as part of my writing compensation. I'm using one copy of each for myself, of course, but that leaves me one copy of each to...


Of course, I have to make y'all do something to get them... *ponders*

Okay, how about this? You can do one of the following [and be sure to come back here and report that you've done it, so I put you in the contest]:
  1. Sign up to take the upcoming "Spells and Spell Casting" class at the new online witchcraft workshops loop.
  2. Or talk about the new loop or the classes somewhere online (FB, Twitter, your blog, etc.)
  3. Sign up to take my writing workshop, "Beyond Fangs: Creating New and Interesting Paranormal Characters," at SavvyAuthors. Class runs April 9-27.
  4. Or talk up the class anywhere online. (Especially if you've taken one of my writing classes before.)
  5. Buy a copy of my paranormal romance ebook, WITCH EVER WAY YOU CAN, on Amazon or over at B & N (if you happen to have a Nook)
  6. Or talk about the book online, as above. All reviews are happily accepted. If you happen to write a particularly snazzy one, I might even post a link here, as I did with the one the lovely Judy Long put up on her blog the other day.

As you can see, there are lots of easy options to enter this contest. If you do more than one, just tell me when you report back in the comments, and you'll get a contest entry for each item you've done. Easy peasey. I'll pick one random winner for each annual on Friday night, so you've got a couple of days to accomplish one of the above tasks and report back.

DON'T FORGET TO TELL ME IN A COMMENT THAT YOU'VE DONE IT! And anyone RT-ing or sharing this blog post gets TWO extra entries.

Are we having fun yet?

PS--In case you were wondering if people actual win these things, yes they do-- today I am sending out copies of the Alex Bledsoe book and the Mindy Klasky book that were won by people taking part in previous contests :-)