July, 2014

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The Art of Slowing Down

First up—The Effigy blog tour keeps chugging right along and pays a visit today to author Loni Townsend where I ramble on about this one time (not at band camp) where I found some major inspiration in an unexpected place (again, not band camp). Stop by and say hi!

And now, for the main event, I’m turning the floor over to author C. Lee McKenzie as part of her blog tour for her latest release, Double Negative. She’s here to talk about reducing stress for writers. Since I never, ever, feel any stress whatsoever, I—yeah, I can’t even finish that sentence. Since I never, ever, feel anything but stress, I stand to learn a lot from this post.

Take it away, Lee!

Slow Down, Writers

The scientific community can’t say with certainty that chronic stress causes life-threatening diseases. What they can say is people who are severely stressed are often tired and, therefore, less likely to exercise. Not healthy. Some come to rely on habits like overeating (strudel anyone?), drinking (where’s the wine?) and smoking (no temptation here, thank goodness) to “feel” more relaxed.

Anyone with a job, a mortgage, or a manuscript on submission knows how wrung out they feel at the end of a work week. I know I do. And I know how easy it is to say I’m too tired to do much of anything.

When I’m really under pressure here’s what I find helps me reduce the stress of life in general and the writing world in particular. These are things that get me up from my chair and moving. . .slowly, but surely.

Anyone who knows me can guess my first stress reducing strategy. I take a hike, then these other strategies are my back up. I cook something I really like to eat, and I do it from scratch. Spanakopita takes hours of chopping, and then there’s filo to deal with. At dinner, I light some candles and dim the overheads. It’s a mandatory, “everyone-sits-at-the-table-and-talk night.”

No matter what time of year it is, I plant some seeds. If I’m totally on my type A trip, I plant green beans. They grow almost overnight. Once I bought a fountain pen and wrote a letter with it. It’s still around here somewhere in case I need it. Of course, I leave the computer, cell phone and iPad off for at least a half hour—Well, fifteen minutes. Four? And finally, or maybe during all of this, I concentrate on my breath for a few minutes. No one can stress if they have to monitor their breathing.

Here’s to a happy and healthy writing for the rest of 2014.

 

 

double-negative2Double Negative
by C. Lee McKenzie
Release date: July 25, 2014

Hutchison McQueen is a sixteen-year-old smart kid who screws up regularly. He’s a member of Larkston High’s loser clique, the boy who’s on his way to nowhere—unless juvenile hall counts as a destination. He squeaks through classes with his talent for eavesdropping and memorizing what he hears. When that doesn’t work, he goes to Fat Nyla, the one some mean girls are out to get and a person who’s in on his secret—he can barely read.

And then Maggie happens. For twenty-five years she’s saved boys from their own bad choices. But she may not have time to save Hutch. Alzheimer’s disease is steadily stealing her keen mind.

Why I Write

Today, the Effigy blog tour continues over at Patricia Lynne’s blog, where I tackle the very important question of why I write.

 

And because the Ninja Captain told me to (and because I always do what I’m do…(pause for hysterical laughter from any and all who know what a bald-faced lie that is)), here’s my pretty, pretty cover art once more time (this week.)—

 

Effigy Proof Copies (Medium)

 

Didn’t Ravven just do an amazing job?

 

The e-book editions are on their way, I swear. They’ll be available soon. Maybe even later today. Or this weekend. Or Monday. Or the following Monday. That’s still ‘soon’, right?

 

Hmmm…probably not.

 

Until then, thank you to everyone who helped to make my first release week a successful one. You’re awesome!

Dean You're Awesome

 

In Which The Blog Tour Begins

So, you might not have seen this on any place on any social media—because absolutely no one’s talking about it (not a true story…so many wonderful people are talking about it, and I’m both floored and honored by it)—but I published my first novel this past Tuesday.

Effigy Proof Copies (Medium)

 

(Are you totally sick of seeing this cover yet? I promise I’ll stop plastering it everywhere very soon. Well, that’s likely a big fat lie, so don’t hold me to that, okay?)

 

Today marks the start of my very first blog tour. I’m a little bit nervous about it, of course, because I’m me and nervous is what I do.

 

Anyway, my first stop on the tour is an interview with the amazing Misha Gericke at The Five Year Project. Please stop by to say hi, if you have the time.

 

Also…have you entered the Effigy giveaway yet? If not, here’s your chance—

 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

In Which I Publish A Novel

Yep. This is happening. How is this happening?

I checked, and hell didn’t seem frozen over. Weird. I really thought it might be.

Anyway, it’s Effigy Release Day!

Check out these amazing bloggers who are helping me get the word out today:

S.K. Anthony

Annalisa Crawford

Murees Dupé

Heather M. Gardner

Kyra Lennon

Melissa Maygrove

Christine Rains

THANK YOU, ONE AND ALL! YOU’RE THE BEST!!!

 

And now, here’s everything you ever needed to know about Effigy but maybe were afraid to ask…

EFFIGY (Epic Fantasy), Book One in the Coileáin Chronicles

by M.J. Fifield

Release date: July 22, 2014

Now available in paperback on Amazon, Amazon UK, and CreateSpace (E-book version available soon!)

The survival of a once-mighty kingdom rests in the hands of its young queen, Haleine Coileáin, as it slowly succumbs to an ancient evil fueled by her husband’s cruelty.

A sadistic man with a talent for torture and a taste for murder, he is determined to burn the land and all souls within. Haleine is determined to save her kingdom and, after a chance encounter, joins forces with the leader of the people’s rebellion. She gives him her support, soon followed by her heart.



Loving him is inadvertent but becomes as natural and necessary as breathing. She lies and steals on his behalf, doing anything she can to further their cause. She compromises beliefs held all her life, for what life will exist if evil prevails?



Her journey leads to a deceiving world of magic, monsters, and gods she never believed existed outside of myth. The deeper she goes, the more her soul is stripped away, but she continues on, desperate to see her quest complete. If she can bring her husband to ruin and save her people, any sacrifice is worth the price—even if it means her life.

 

Add it to your Goodreads List!
About the author:
 
Armed with a deep and lasting love of chocolate, purple pens, and medieval weaponry, M.J. Fifield is nothing if not a uniquely supplied insomniac. When she isn’t writing, she’s on the hunt for oversized baked goods or shiny new daggers. M.J. lives with a variety of furry creatures—mostly pets—in New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Valley. Effigy is her first novel. Visit her online at mjfifield.com, find her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

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One Day More

I like reading my horoscope. I especially like reading them in my local paper because they’re so often eerily accurate.

For example, one day it had a bunch of unspecific mumbo-jumbo, but ended with “Don’t forget to return your library book.” This was perfect because I actually had a library book that I had forgotten to return.

Another even more awesome example is the horoscope which ended with “A friend is pregnant with a boy.” I remember laughing about that one, but I stopped laughing when, about two weeks later, my best friend told me she was pregnant. Instead I got super excited. I was even more excited when, the next month, it was confirmed that she was pregnant with a boy.

Yesterday, my horoscope once again spoke clearly to my situation. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve already seen this, but this weekend, I opened up my local newspaper to read my horoscope (and, you know, the news and stuff, too). This is what it said:

Self-esteem isn’t a fixed thing, and you will feel yours waver throughout the day. The important thing is that whether you feel strong or scared, go ahead with your plans.


So this is me going ahead with my plans.

IMG_20140623_163458_334Effigy Proof Copies (Medium)Effigy will be released tomorrow.

Tomorrow. (It’s only a day away…)

Like, for real, even, and not just in some wild daydream I’m having while I’m at my day job. Which I am, today. At my day job, I mean. As you’re reading this, I am either working my way through an endless list of needlessly confusing markdowns, or working my way through an endless pile of needlessly ugly new product as we welcome in our fall line.

Living the dream—that’s me.

But I guess I kind of am because, yeah. Effigy will be available tomorrow. (I think if I say it enough times, I might actually start to believe that it’s true.)

Well, in limited release, anyway. Starting tomorrow, people will be able to order a paperback copy from the CreateSpace store. It won’t be available on Amazon until later in the week because of the Post Office Delay of last week (thanks, USPS! You’re the best! (Note: that was sarcasm.)). Also, the e-book versions have been delayed because of some unexpected and, quite frankly, strange formatting problems. I found that out yesterday afternoon.

I took it very well. True story. (Note: not a true story)

So it might not have gone as smoothly as I would have hoped (or, you know, not even close to it), but it is happening. Kind of. And this whole limited release thing is all right. I mean, Hollywood does it with the big Oscar contenders every year, so why shouldn’t I do it with my debut novel, right?

While I go and try to convince myself of that, check out this video. This is the song that’s been in my head since I titled this post. I chose the 10th Anniversary concert edition—it doesn’t involve Russell Crowe destroying the role of Javert. (Note: still not over that.)

Thanks for stopping by today, and I’ll see y’all tomorrow.