Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday's Musings

Thought for the day: If someone has ever told you you’re crazy, you probably aren’t. Think about it. If someone were really, actually crazy- would you want to be the one to let them in on it?
We got home from Cincinnati late last night. My husband and I stayed there as our home base for our trip into Kentucky. And because we wanted to see Red’s last home game, which ended up being a disappointment. Not Kentucky, the Red’s game. I guess they lost their two prior games, so the one we went to ended up being meaningless, which meant they sent in their second string.  And it rained. A lot.

But Kentucky was good. We made a stop in Versailles, where a large part of my second and third books take place. It felt so amazing being there; like I’d walked into the middle of my story. I took lots and lots of pictures for visual cues. I tend to write better with a few pictures in front of me. And the unexpected surprise? We went to Churchill Downs (where they have the Kentucky Derby) and there were races going on, and I picked the winning horse. If I were only the betting type, I’d be a rich woman right now. Oh well-at least I had a mint julep, even if I couldn’t talk my husband into letting me where a big poufy hat.
Have any of you ever been to the places where your books take place? What other things do you do to prepare to write?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Goals, How to Date a Nerd, Express, and Small Things

I know this isn't Friday yet, but I'll be on my way to Kentucky Friday morning for some more book research, so I'm posting this a smidge early.

Welcome to my first post on this particular topic. This is all about Goals and Dreams. The Big ones; the bigger the better: Basically-what is your biggest dream for five years down the road? For me it’s to have The Newstead Trilogy be the next great American Novel(s). Okay-so I know that’s dreaming big-okay huge, but I’m the lay it all out there or go home kind of person.

The question we’re supposed to answer on the last Friday of each month is: How are you doing with your goal? Slow, but good. The second book is coming out in November. Word is slowly getting out. I’m hoping with the coming out of Bashan, people will start to see where I’m going with this; each book things get a little deeper and darker.
Thanks to Cassie May for hosting this and congratulations on the release of her new book: How to Date a Nerd
The question is: What is the nerdiest thing about you? Probably that I don’t care what people think about me. I am who I am, and I like who I am, so if you don’t, that’s okay. I’m officially over it.
Check out Cassie's book on Goodreads:
The question for this week is: What author would you love to have lunch with? Living or Dead? Living would be Stephenie Meyer. Okay I said it. I’d love to meet the mind who came up with Edward.  Dead-King David, or maybe his son, Solomon. I know, quite the contrast.
The small thing I’m celebrating this week is that I’m heading out to Kentucky tomorrow with my husband; aka the kids are staying home with Grandma. I love Kentucky, especially the Lexington area. I tend to be a visual person, so I try to make it to the locations of my novels at least once a year to keep the creative juices flowing. I CANNOT WAIT! And yes that includes all the wonderful alone time with the hubby.
How about you? Any big five year (dreams) goals? Anything nerdy you want to confess? What author would you have lunch with if you could? Celebrating any small things?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Indiestructible and Follow Fest Continues

Today I'm posting on Indiestructible, an amazing book for Indie authors by Indie authors, all those of you visiting from Follow Fest, see my post below.


by Jessica Bell

The day I realized I’d been obsessing over my sales figures way too much was the day I closed my eyes and tried to think about the real reason I am an indie author.

Is my primary goal to make money? No. So why do I keep obsessing over my sales stats? I realized it’s because more sales means more people reading my work. What I really really want is to be read. I want to share the one thing in this world I would cut my fingers off for. I know. If I didn’t have any fingers, I wouldn’t be able to physically write, but you know what I mean.

My passion for writing comes with a perpetual replacement button, attached to my side seam, just in case it becomes unraveled, and falls off, after a day gallivanting through the publishing jungle. It can be tough in there, but in the end, being an indie author is OH SO WORTH IT.
This made me wonder …  what’s everybody else’s story?

Then Indiestructible was born.
Need motivation and inspiration to self-publish, or sign that contract with an interested small press? Have you done all the research you can, but still feel ambivalent about the idea? Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle brings you the experiences of 29 indie authors—their passions, their insights, their successes—to help you make the leap into indie publishing.

This is not a how-to guide. This is the best of the indie tradition of experienced authors paying forward what they’ve learned, giving you information to help you on your journey. The personal essays in this book will leave you itching to get your work into the hands of readers and experience, first-hand, all the rewards indie publishing has to offer.

Not only is this anthology packed full of interesting, unique, and genuinely helpful information, and totally worth the 99c (only 99c!!!), 100% of proceeds will be donated to, a movement which breaks the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education.

Pretty amazing, huh?

What are you waiting for?

Buy Indiestructible—support the indie author and an amazing charity—TODAY!

eBook: $0.99 USD
Publisher: Vine Leaves Press
ISBN 10: 0987593102
ISBN 13: 9780987593108
Language: English

Edited & Compiled: by Jessica Bell

Contributing authors:

About Jessica Bell:

The Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet, and singer/songwriter/guitarist, Jessica Bell, also makes a living as an editor and writer for global ELT publishers (English Language Teaching), such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

She is the co-publishing editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and the director of the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca.

Connect with Jessica online:

Name: Melanie Schulz
Fiction or Nonfiction: Fiction
What genres do you write? Nothing specific, whatever moves me. The Newstead Project is a Young Adult Thriller
Are you published?  The Newstead Project, my first book in the Newstead Trilogy was released by Black and White Publishing Co. in May of this year. Book 2, The Bashan Agenda is set to be released on November 1, 2013
Do you do anything in addition to writing? I am a Psychiatric Nurse, as well a homeschooling mom.
Where can people connect with you? Here, mainly. I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I also have an author website:, and am on facebook:
Great to have you by, will stop by your site soon!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Short, Follow Fest

Here is my Monday short- Can you tell I've been reading Treasure Island? Welcome all those visiting from the Follow Fest!

 The Trunk

“Remember when,” the girl’s grandfather began.  

She settled back in her seat, waiting for the rest. For the last two weeks she’d made it a point to listen. She didn’t know if it was the morphine or just him nearing the end, but his stories had taken on an interesting turn of late.

“We used to go to New Brunswick?” he continued, looking up at her.

“Yes Grandpa,” she lied. She’d never been anywhere near New Brunswick.

“And we buried that car in the pond?”

She grabbed the sheet of paper from her pocket. “What pond is that?”

“Oh, you know, the one on Baker’s Road,” he said, while she nodded, carefully drawing a blue circle on her paper, writing the words Baker in the middle of it. She put an X right under the word.  

“And where is that again?” she asked, ready to write the instant the words came out of his mouth. 

“Past the railroad tracks that run through town, about ten yards or so after that old coal shed on Baker’s.”

She scribbled furiously.   

“What else did we do there?” she prodded, hoping to get just a little bit more before he drifted off again.

“The same as we always do,” he said, yawning. “We’re pirates-remember- we bury our treasure.”  With that his eyes fluttered and his breathing slowed to a dream-filled sleep.

She tucked the blanket up under his chin, glancing down at the paper clenched in her hand. For two weeks now she’d been hearing about how he’d hidden his treasure in a trunk. It had never dawned on her that maybe he’d meant the trunk of a car.

It felt like time for a trip to New Brunswick.  


 Now, onto Follow Fest.
Name: Melanie Schulz
Fiction or Nonfiction: Fiction
What genres do you write? Nothing specific, whatever moves me. The Newstead Project is a Young Adult Thriller
Are you published?  The Newstead Project, my first book in the Newstead Trilogy was released by Black and White Publishing Co. in May of this year. Book 2, The Bashan Agenda is set to be released on November 1, 2013
Do you do anything in addition to writing? I am a Psychiatric Nurse, as well a homeschooling mom.
Where can people connect with you? Here, mainly. I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I also have an author website:, and am on facebook:
Great to have you by, will stop by your site soon!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Small Things and Celebrating

The small thing I’m celebrating this week is letting go. I know last week I wrote how much I hate schedules, but they’re really necessary to get things done, and all that is true, but this week I learned something even more important. Sometimes schedules should be broken. Today I should do five pages of math with my seven year old, along with about a hundred other things, but I’m not. We’re going apple picking at a local orchard that has 350 different varieties of apples-can you imagine that? We’re riding in a wagon, eating fresh-made donuts, and having homemade apple cider, all with my mom and sis and her kids. Then we’re ending it all with a picnic in the woods.

Deciding to forgo the schedule for a day: A small, but wonderful thing.


Name a movie character’s personality who is you to a tee: Katniss Everdeen. I don’t love a lot of people, but those I do, I’m fiercely protective over.  And being outside feels almost like a heartbeat to me.

How about you? Any small things you’re celebrating? What movie character’s personality do you resemble?

Monday, September 16, 2013


Today I'm happy to help promote the latest and sadly last volume of the Cassa series.


My question for Alex was:

Is this the final book in the Cassa series?

I’m afraid it is! Since I keep jumping ahead twenty years, that means if I write another one, Byron will be eighty-two. Cassans might live longer and age slower, but he won’t be moving as fast as he used to and won’t fly anymore. I don’t want to do Byron: The Geritol Years.

Besides, the story comes full circle with CassaStorm. Time to close the book.



By Alex J Cavanaugh

From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

“CassaStorM is a touching and mesmerizing space opera full of action and emotion with strong characters and a cosmic mystery.” – Edi’s Book Lighhouse 

“With a talent for worldbuilding and a compelling cast of characters, Alex J. Cavanaugh combines high powered space battles and the challenges of family dynamics to provide readers a space opera with heart.”
- Elizabeth S. Craig, author of the Southern Quilting and Myrtle Clover mysteries

“I thought the revelation was going to be one thing and I was completely wrong … CassaStorm pushes the limits…”
- Tyson Mauermann, Speculative Reviews
$16.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 268 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.

Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera

Print ISBN 9781939844002 eBook ISBN 9781939844019

$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Find CassaStorm:

Amazon -

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Now, for my review.
This book was the perfect end to a series I never thought I'd love. Those of you who know me, know I'm not really a space opera kind of girl, but I loved these, all of these. There was heart and real, authentic relationships, as well as a kick-ass story that kept me up late into the night, trying to find out what happens next.
In this book we connect with Byron and Athee, twenty years after we left them. They have a ten year old son now, named Bassan. Byron has been promoted to commander of the Cassian outpost in Tgren, which has been good for him. And bad. He hasn't seen war in almost twenty years, none of them have. Which leaves them completely unprepared when it shows up at their front door. But this is a war none of them could have prepared for, especially now, when it appears his family is at the center of it.
If you love the rest of the Cassa books, like I do, you'll love this one too. It has the same effortless writing style, the same deep relationships, the same wonderful tension, only this one has a few more unexpected twists. 
I'm trying very hard not to spoil it right now, but let me just say, it ends just as it should. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Celebrate and Express

This week was hectic at first, but as it went on, seemed to smooth out a bit. I tend to buck against routines, that's why I love summer vacation so much, but it turns out I need them. You would not believe all I accomplished this week! And not just with my book, with everything. So that's what I'm celebrating this week: That doing something I hate (aka a schedule) ended up being the very best thing for me.

The question for the week is: Name something crafty that you do, or wish you did: The person I am is outcome focused. If it does not serve a purpose, than I don't do it. I don't have roses in my garden, I have rose plants, because they make huge rosehips that I can use in the teas I make. And I don't do puzzles, because you just take them apart. What's the point in that? I knit mittens instead. They have a purpose, they are useful.
Besides for my family, my making things tends to be for Christmas. We always give/receive homemade Christmas gifts, usually from our garden. I usually make the mittens I was talking about earlier, or teas from the dried herbs from my garden, or bay leaf wreathes, and jam; stuff like that. It's not really crafty, just something I do. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Indie Life, What's Up, More than a Kiss

Today is my first Indie Life post, and today I'm posting about a wonderful program I discovered along the way:

Compulsion Reads is an Indie site for Indie authors by Indie authors. Basically, it's an endorsement system. And not everyone who submits gets endorsed-less than half do, actually. Which in essence is a good thing, because if your book does get their coveted gold seal, that means yours stands out.

What I'm reading: Treasure Island. Again. I can't help it, I loved it.
What I'm writing: I'm not really writing at the moment, too deep in formats for Bashan.
What's inspiring me right now: Autumn. I really love this time of year.
What else I've been up to: Basically enjoying my children and seeing my second book come together. Does it get any better than that?

Okay, so I found this blogfest yesterday, and I just had to join. Basically you have to post a kissing scene from one of your books. So here it is, from The Newstead Project:
He smiled down at me, a knowing smile, and lifted our hands to his soft, full lips as he gently kissed the back of each of my fingers before letting them fall back down between us.
We continued that way in blissful silence, until we reached the farmer’s trail at the end of Markham Lane. It was no more than a frozen dirt path that, after making a few turns along a creek, led to my trailer. I slowed and Joel stopped.
“Something wrong?” he asked.
He bent over until his face was only a couple inches above mine. I don’t think either one of us was prepared for what being that close would do to us.
My hand lifted to his face and lightly traced along his cheekbones, up to his forehead, before circling back down to his jaw. My fingers hesitated by his lips.   
His eyes burned bright as his head lowered. My breath held, waiting. But just when I would’ve sworn it was inevitable, his jaw tensed and he slowly shook his head. I don’t know if it was to him or to me. His lips touched softly on my forehead instead, a light brush that was over before it began.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

First Days

Well this is it, the day school starts in the Schulz house. It's a crazy morning-everyone's up early and still relatively excited about what the new year holds. We're doing the Prairie Primer with the younger ones- basically it's a in-depth study of the Laura Ingalls books, where you do all the cool stuff she did. I think I might enjoy this more than my kids. This week we're making maple sugar candies and corn husk dolls and going on a nature hike to explore animal tracks. Now my older daughter, I couldn't even begin to tell you what she's doing- something that looks a lot like Algebra and Latin and American Government. I think I'll just stick to the candy making.

This week I'm participating in a new monthly event- Indie Life-come back on Wednesday for that. Friday will be the normal Express Yourself and Celebrating the Small Stuff.

What's on the agenda for you this week? 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Express and Celebrate

The express yourself question for this week isn't a question, instead, wonderful Dani and Jackie would like for us to share our family pictures, so here goes:
My two handsome men:
 my daughter and my son:
My fifteen year-old refused to let me post any of her :(
But I'm sneaky (she's the girl on the cover)-hey-what can I say- the picture's already out there. (heehee)
The small things I'm celebrating are what you see above: My family.
Have a great weekend everyone!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Today is Insecure Writers Group time, which means, basically, I get to tell all of you what I’m feeling insecure about. Thank you so much to Alex Cavanaugh for starting this-two years ago today!

I’m at a strange place right now. I’m going over the final notes from my editor on Bashan (book #2 in the Newstead Trilogy) and I’m feeling good. I’ve realized something about myself and my writing over the past three years; I like how I write. I’m me. I haven’t bowed down to convention, ever. I listen to criticism, yes, but I glean what I need to, then move on. It took me a long time to do that. I’m not kidding. In the beginning, I let my grammar-ninja husband get his hands on my book and he changed it. It wasn’t mine anymore. Did you know that in Pride and Prejudice Jane Austin ended many of her sentences with prepositions? And she used the word amiable. A lot. I hate to think what an editor today would do with her work. Now I’m no Jane Austin. I’m me. And that’s just the way it should be.

What I’m reading: Kiss by Ted Decker and Erin Healy. I tend to like anything Dekker does-right up my alley-thought provoking thrillers. Thank you everyone for the advice last week on what to read next. My TBR pile is now sufficiently stocked.

What I’m writing: As mentioned in insecure, I’m (still) finishing combing through Bashan. It’s amazing that I’m still finding things.

What else I’ve been up to: Just enjoying the one week break I gave myself in-between the chaos of summer and school starting.

What’s inspiring me now: Yesterday was my three year anniversary being a writer. I might have been one before that; I always had stories running through my head, but September 3, 2010 was the first time I wrote any of them down. So this week, today, I’m reflecting on that. I’m inspired by that.


And finally, the winner of my Red, White, and Blue makes Purple Blogfest is…C. M. Brown. Yes, her name was drawn by my very sweet seven year-old just this morning. Congratulations C. M.! And thank you to everyone who participated.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Blogfest/ Take Two

Today is the day! Welcome everyone to Red, White, and Blue makes Purple Blogfest!
 This blogfest consists of flash fiction with a military theme, all of which will be featured in an anthology to be released in January. All proceeds to go to Camp Pioneer, an Operation Purple camp. Operation Purple is a great organization, which provides summer camp for the kids of our country's soldiers, free of charge. I will be posting more information concerning the anthology later, but for now, stop by these other blogs and thank these wonderful people for giving back to those who have served us.  

Here is my story:

     “Sir?” I question, watching him.

     He nods slightly, holding out his coat.

     That time I grab it, feeling the weight; royal robes aren’t something I’ve ever felt before, let alone worn. Surprisingly it fits. And mine fits him, too.

     “Where are you going to be?” I ask, but he’s already walking out the door. From behind he looks like me; just a plain shepherd, in plain shepherd’s clothes. And I look like him. I guess that’s the point.

     I leave as well, only when I get outside, I head in the opposite direction.

     The sounds from the front come at me. It’s different, somehow, knowing that all those arrows are now being drawn for me.  That thought is enough to stop my feet.

     I don’t need a reason to do this; I already have hundreds of those. That’s not why I stopped. I need for this, this giving of my life, to be personal.   

     A picture of my brother’s face fills my mind just as my feet shift to turn back to the shelter. He believed in this cause.

     That’s not enough.

     He died for this cause.

     The picture shifts and I wince, expecting him to transform into the mutilated pile of flesh dumped in front of our house last week, but it isn’t. It’s him, only now, he’s happy. He’s hopeful.

     I start walking again. 

     Men shift to the side as I pass. Most of them have that same look on their face.

The men on the wall respond as well. Twisted contortions of rage turn bright as they see the stones embroidered across my chest, as they draw their bows.

      I want to close my eyes, but I can’t. I know this is the last thing on this earth I will see.

     The first hit comes from my left, only it’s thick and dull, not piercing like I expected. It’s followed by another, then another, until I topple to the ground. There are at least five men piled on top of me.

     A final thud comes, only this one is from behind.

     One by one, the men rise and I see in their faces the same reason that was in mine. They believed the lie as much as the men on the wall. They thought I was him. And for him they would give their lives.

     As one man we turn to see the figure lying on the ground behind us, the man whose blood turned crimson the shepherd clothes I’d had on just ten minutes before.