Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IWSG: Progress & the Power of Positive Thinking

Oh my gosh, I apologize for my blogging delay.  Life has handed me a crap storm of crazy and I've been doing my best to stay afloat.  That said, it's already December.  Damn the year's practically ran me down.  Anyhoo...it's time for Insecure Writers Support Group brought to you by Alex J. Cavanaugh and this month's co-hosts, are Heather Gardner, T. Drecker from Kidbits, Eva E. Solar at Lilicasplace, and Patsy Collins!

On Progress & the Power of Positive Thinking

I didn't exactly do NaNo although I did try to keep up with the pace. In the end, I added about another 15K to my novel. Not bad, but definitely not great. Still, I have to admit it's progress. As for insecurities, my one insecurity is this: My blog anniversary is next month and that ultimately means I've been at this writing rat race for close to a dog's age. It's all a bit depressing when you think about it. What with the time and effort that goes into writing novels and my not having one thing to show for...

That said, it was mid November when I had these destructive thoughts and let's be honest...it was more of a pity party than anything and then suddenly, I had an errant thought—probably a gift from the man upstairs now that I think about it. As I was chastising myself for my lack of accomplishments, the voice spoke, "Hang on a second. You actually do write for a living and have been doing so these last few years. Is it exactly what you want? Not exactly. But you are making a living off it and well...that's something, isn't it?"

After my inner voice spoke, it got me thinking even more. Even though I'm not exactly where I want to be, I have had some success. It's professional writing for my clients and not fictional for myself, but it's still something. And that my friends gave me hope! I'm so thankful I got that positive message. I totally needed it. 

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond is here!  Okay, I got my copy.  Did you get yours?  Hurry!

Tapping into the expertise of over a hundred talented authors from around the globe, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond contains something for every writer. Whether you are starting out and need tips on the craft of writing, looking for encouragement as an already established author, taking the plunge into self-publishing, or seeking innovative ways to market and promote your work, this guide is a useful tool. Compiled into three key areas of writing, publishing, and marketing, this valuable resource offers inspirational articles, helpful anecdotes, and excellent advice on dos and don'ts that we all wish we knew when we first started out on this writing journey.

Find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Goodreads.


That's it for IWSG.  What type of progress did you have last month?  What about the IWSG guide?  Have you picked up a copy?

Have a great rest of the week!

Mina Burrows

Monday, November 3, 2014

Who's Your Hero Blogfest!

Today, we're celebrating heroes and what they mean to us.  Special thanks to Joy L. Campbell and Michelle Wallace for hosting this blog hop.  The goal of this post is to write about the heroes that are inspiring us the most right now.  Who's my hero?  The easy answer would be a family member or perhaps my children.  But that's not what's in my head right now unfortunately.  No, what's in my head at the moment is a hero character I'm currently writing about.  

As writers we spend our lives observing people and situations, watching movies and then, of course, spend countless hours in our imagination.  We are creatures of the moment who are driven to capture the perfect story in our own words.  Right now the hero I've captured is rolled up into a ball of confusion in my head, and I'm sure I'm doing a butcher-like job trying to describe him on paper.  He's terrible complex just like the relationships he creates.  He's bold, unforgiving a has a sense of humor.  Is he a ladies man?  Funny you should ask, but yes, he is.

It's odd how when you're in the middle of a story how it's difficult to think little else but your hero or circumstances you've created for them.  Like any good story, I used real-life inspiring heroes to capture mine.  Whether it's straight from the news, a situation I've witnessed or even experienced, finding and using your everyday life as a muse for your hero writing is utterly essential.  It could be the heroic efforts of the many healthcare workers administering care to Ebola victims or a kind gesture of child.  For me, hero moments are everywhere when your writing.  At times it makes our job relatively easy.  At other times, not so much.   My goal for this writing project is to harness all the signs I receive and somehow make this hero of mine shine.  It's not an easy task that's for sure, but like any good writer, I'm up for the task.

What about you?  Do you have a hero you honoring today?  Or are you like me and are locked in creative-mode with your current project?

It's Monday.  Be sure and have a wonderful week.

Mina Burrows

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

All Aboard the Island Adventure Romance Blog Train

Hey guys! Fellow author and friend J.L. Campbell is here on my blog today, celebrating romance and suspense straight from the islands.  Campbell is a fantastic writer that I've read and featured previously on my blog here and here.  Well, now she's back and she's brought some exciting news.  Please welcome J.L.!

Hello.  Welcome to the second stop for the Island Adventure Romance Blog Train. This series is about standalone books that feature fast-paced stories set in the Caribbean.

Chasing Anya is about an independent woman, who has something of a history. She is plagued by a troublesome ex, who has no intention of letting the past stay where it belongs. Among the challenges Anya faces, is forgiving herself for something she believes is unforgivable.

What makes Anya's story special is that she presents a strong front to the world, while battling her demons and hiding her insecurities. Chasing Anya is more than a romance novel, it explores choices and living with the consequences of the decisions we make. The book also explores themes of friendship, healing and redemption. And no, it's not preachy. There's also excitement and intrigue as a case of insurance fraud unfolds around Anya.

In this book, we also meet her sister, Celeste, who I'll just say is a handful. She doesn't come across as a likeable character, but matures in her own story, Taming Celeste, which follows Anya's romance.

If you want a no-risk taste of the start of this series, Anya’s Wish is my gift to you. This free download is accessible here. I hope you enjoy the introduction to a set of characters whose lives intertwine in different stories.

Over the period of the tour (October 20-31), the prices of all the books in this series will be discounted to 0.99. Also, you may enter on the Rafflecopter to win a ten dollar ($10.00) Amazon voucher or an e-copy of the entire collection, which includes Chasing Anya, Contraband and Taming Celeste.

Follow the tour stops as I share information about these books that have been described as compelling and well-written, with vibrant characters.

J.L. Campbell lives in Jamaica and writes romantic suspense, women's fiction and young adult novels. She also writes non-fiction and is a certified editor. Visit her on the web at http://www.joylcampbell.com or at her Amazon page. She's enjoys good company, so feel free to follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by Joy!  Okay, everyone!  Hurry and get your copies while the deals are hot! And don't forget to enter to win too!  

Have a great rest of the week!

Mina Burrows

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

5th Annual Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Hey, Halloween fans!  The Spooktacular Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer, is back.  Wahoo!  I haven't participated in many hops this year, but of course I couldn't miss this one.  It's one of my favs!  
Source


It's scary how fast Halloween is approaching.  Hold on to your broomstick witches, because before you know it, Halloween will be over and your teeth will be aching from all the candy you devoured.  But before it's over and Death does his little dance, let's have some fun!  

For this year's hop, there are almost 300 blogs participating in this year spooky giveaway, giving away lots of books.  Booya! 

Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card
Since this giveaway must be book related, I'm giving away one (1) FREE $10 Amazon Gift Card so the winner may pick their poison.  Hear that, Death or are you too busy dancing?  Eh, see the details below on how to enter:

To enter…
You MUST be a follower of my blog and MUST fill out this entry form. (And yes, I do check GCF)

Extra entries…
+2 Subscribe to my blog
+1 Like me on Facebook/MinaBurrows

+1 Follow me on Google Plus
+1 Retweet this Twitter (limit 1 retweet)



a Rafflecopter giveaway The giveaway runs from 12:01 AM on Oct. 15th - October 31st, midnight. Contest is open to International participants. 

Want to see who else is participating?  Visit I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and check out all the links and hop on by.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Classic Horror on Netflix & Other Creepy Flicks


Hey, guys.  It's day 7 of October, and Halloween is just around the corner.  Jinkies, I can't believe it's that close.  Anyway, as writers, readers and everyday life-goers, one way to take a break and celebrate Halloween this season is to watch classic horror specials on TV.  Am I right?  Well, nothing gets you in the mood for Halloween like a good old-fashioned movie or video on Netflix.   Today, I'm featuring some classic horror films/shows and other creepy videos available on Netflix now.  So get ready as we review a boat-load of horror genre so you can binge-watch throughout the month of October.

Classic Horror on Netflix


House on Haunted Hill, 1959 NR 74 minutes - 3 Stars on NF
A devilish millionaire offers five strangers $10,000 to stay overnight in a remote haunted mansion, where they are terrorized by grisly apparitions. Starring:  Vincent Price, Elisha Cook Jr.

My Comments:  Vincent Price is like a cornerstone in horror cinema.  I don't think we've had an actor like him in the horror genre since.  I saw House on Haunted Hill decades ago, and it's definitely time to watch it again.  Have you seen it?




Night of the Living Dead, 1968 NR 95 minutes - 2.25 Stars on NF
As dead bodies return to life and feast on humans, a woman joins a band of survivors in a farmhouse trying to save themselves from the zombie hordes.
Starring:  Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea

My Comments:  During the A-Z Challenge, I posted on this movie and zombies for the letter Z. It is a classic indeed and currently rank an 8 by fans on IMDB.   Have you seen it, or is this too outdated for your taste?




Alfred Hitchcock Presents, 1955-1957 NR 3 Seasons - 4 Stars on NF
Master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock brings his droll sensibility to the small screen in this legendary and iconic anthology series. Starring:  Alfred Hitchcock

My Comments:  I've seen a handful or so of these, but no one creates suspense and highlights the darkness in humanity like Hitchcock.  What an icon and what a series.  IMDB fans rate this 1950's series at an 8.7 which is pretty impressive.  





Nosferatu, 1922/1929 NR 94 minutes - 2.5 Stars on NF
Many horror-film fanatics call this silent classic the scariest Dracula adaptation ever, starring Max Schreck as the eerie and grotesque Count Orlok. Starring:
Max Schreck, Alexander Granach

My Comments:  This classic vampire movie is truly memorable.  And that's quite an accomplishment when many of the horror movies made since then are frankly, forgettable.  This was another one I featured on my "N" post for the A-Z Challenge.  Don't miss your chance to watch it on Netflix if you can.



The Twilight Zone 1959-1963 TV-PG 4 Seasons - 3.5 Stars on NF
Hosted by creator Rod Serling, this groundbreaking anthology series presents tales of the supernatural that are often tinged with social commentary. Starring: Rod Serling

My Comments:  I've seen so many of these episodes, I've lost count.  What a treat to be able to catch at least four seasons of these episodes.  Top episodes are: To Serve Man (1962), The Fugitive (1962) and  Kick the Can (1962).




Other Creepy Flicks!


Lastly, if the classics are not to your taste, then there are oodles of other horror films or television shows to watch on Netflix.  Check out my list of what to watch this October and read my brief comments on the shows.
  1. The Munsters - Another classic television show and not so scary.
  2. American Horror Story - Seasons 1 & 2 are a cross between disturbing and terrifying.  Perfect for horror fans.
  3. The Walking Dead - Horror & Drama!  Can't get enough of the WD? Previous seasons available on NF.  Wahoo!
  4. World War Z - I liked it, but it may not be for some people.
  5. Cabin in the Woods - It wasn't a fav, but I do love Joss Whedon.
  6. Angel - The vampire with a soul!  Thank you Joss Whedon.  Yes, Angel's seasons are stream'n on NF too.
  7. Dreamworks Scary Stories featuring Shrek - Hilarious and fun for the kiddos!
  8. Hemlock Grove - Season 1 was cool, but I've lost interest in Season 2. :(
  9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Duh!  Need I say more? Two classic episodes are Nightmares (Season 1) and Hush (Season 4).
  10. Scoody Doo - Me personally...I can't get enough of those meddling kids!
Of course the Halloween series and Scream series are also available so you have that option.  What types of movies do you like to watch during October?  Are there any classics on your list?

Have a great week!

Mina Burrows

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG: Lessons for the Bold

Insecure Writers Support Group is already upon us for the month of October.  Can't believe that it's almost time for Halloween!  Wow.  #Timeflies  Special thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and this month's co-hosts, Kristin Smith, Elsie, Suzanne Furness, and Fundy Blue!

Today IWSG members are contributing to The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond which an incredible undertaking to help writers learn from other aspiring and published authors. I thought long and hard about what I could contribute, and sadly I didn't come up with much. Still there are some important and elemental lessons all writers need to remember at every stage of their career.

Be Bold and Never Give Up!
On Writing:  Lessons for the Bold

Looking back on my experiences, I can undoubtedly tell aspiring authors what's worked and what hasn't worked for me, but the truth is every writer has difference experiences. What works for some, doesn't necessarily work for others. Luck also plays a big role in a writer's success. Alas, no one can predict that. No one can predict why an agent will respond to one query letter, and another one won't. Or how one book gets published, and another one is rejected. Or why one book sells more than another. Everything varies and in this still somewhat tumultuous publishing time, where publishers are fighting among themselves, the group that it affects the most are the writers.

The two things that I've learned that perhaps are the most valuable lessons are to be bold and to never (EVER) give up. Be bold in your writing. Be true to yourself. Be bold in your submitting and be bold when you publish. Do the work now and when it comes time remember..."Fortune Favors the Bold!"

Those are my words of advice and in fact, not being bold enough has been a debilitating insecurity I've dealt with for the last year. Now that I've expunged this cowardly demon inside me, I can move forward boldly with greatness. Right?  Damn straight!

What about you and your insecurities this month?  Have you been bold enough in your writing?  What about in life?  What type of advice did you give for the IWSG book?

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Mina Burrows
Bio:  aspiring author and lover of wicked literature
Blog:  minaburrows.blogspot.com
ISWG has my permission to rebublish this post.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Underrated Treasures Blogfest

It's time for Underrated Treasures Blogfest hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.  Today we're posting about our favorite unknown MOVIE, BAND/ARTIST, TV SHOW or BOOK.  This one was hard for me, but I took a shot.  Today, I'm only posting on movie and music.  I couldn't think of a good underrated TV show that I liked.  I don't watch that much TV so...  As far as book, frankly, there are so many books that are underrated, I didn't know where to start.  That said, here are my two choices.

Grosse Pointe Blank


I don't how many people saw this movie, but it has to be one of my all time favorite 90's films that I thought was totally underrated.  My husband and I watched this film so many times it was a tad ridiculous.  Anyway, I'm not sure how many of you are a Better of Dead fan, but those movie films are classic to me.  This one is probably the last film I saw John Cusack do what he does best, play the brooding guy (Martin Blank) that is stuck in an untenable situation.  This story line of a hit man heading to his high school reunion had me roaring with iconic actors like Dr. Oatman,  Martin's terrified shrink, played by Alan Arkin. This film also featured other spectacular actors like Joan Cusack, Jeremy Piven, Hank Azaria and Dan Aykroyd.




 


Grosse Point Blank Soundtrack

The music of the film was another underrated piece to this film.  Here's a sample of the track here, including an alternate version of the Violent Femmes, Blister in the Sun.  Check it out!



What are your thoughts?  Are you a fan of Grosse Point Blank?

A-Z Blog REMINDER!

I'm over at the A-Z Challenge blog today, being interviewed by the awesome, Alex J. Cavanaugh.  Please stop by!


Have a great week!