Hey, guys! So last Friday I went to the Taylor Swift concert with my daughter, which was pretty freaking amazing. One thing I loved was the fan videos played on the big screen before the show to keep us preoccupied. I about DIED laughing at how adorable and hilarious this video of these boys at Delta Sigma Phi doing their version of “Shake It Off.” Sit back and enjoy. HAPPY FRIDAY!
I am privileged and honored to introduce today’s Honorary Chick–Corinne DeMaagd. She happens to be one of my favorite people in the world as well as a freaking fantastic editor. I’m not the only one who has publicly stated how much her ninja editing skills have honed my writing craft. As editor for Lyrical Press/Kensington, we have worked together on four projects, and each time I’ve learned something new to add to my repertoire of “do’s and don’ts.” However, she’s not simply my editor, but also my friend (and even my counselor a time or two). I can’t say enough about this amazing lady. Without further ado, here’s a seriously kickass chick–Corinne DeMaagd…
Tell us a little about yourself and why/how you took the path of editor.
Academically, I have a BA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University. Oh, it’s a hot spot for creatives all right. Ha! Not really, I just went where a friend did. I sucked back then. I should have reached higher. I made up for it with a MPHIL (UK equivalent of an MFA) in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling in Scotland. Between then and now I held down loads of different jobs in the publishing industry from DTP to editing to project management. Then I started having kids and stepped out of the office. I was doing some freelance editing in Australia (where I lived) and the author I was working with challenged me to write a book, too. I met her challenge and got my story published with Lyrical, a small press at the time. While in the author loop, I noticed they were looking for editors, so I took their editing test and voila! I was on board. My learning curve in those first years was higher than high but I had, and still have, some awesome supportive colleagues. Now, I have a great roster of authors. They are my joy. Honestly. Between them and the indie authors I work with, I am more than busy.
What are the top three mistakes authors make in writing and submitting their work?
- Follow the submission guidelines. Or if a direct sub call, whatever the editor requests. Often, in Submittable, we get subs without a synopsis, or manuscripts under or over the acceptable word count. Cover letters and manuscripts missing author information. If you follow the directions, this immediately shows you are professional and courteous. If you can’t take the time to read, understand, and follow our submission guidelines, than there is a good chance you’re not an author we want to work with.
- So that’s the first step above. That will get you in and an editor reading your work. The next stopper is poor craft and construction. Take classes, work with writing groups and critique partners, and practice! Don’t send in your first draft. Work hard, clean it up, be proud of what you send us!
- If one editor declines, don’t try to send to another editor of the same press/publisher. That’s sneaky and dodgy. Yes, editors all have different preferences, and we may even shift a book over to another editor if we think it might suit them better, but if not, take the rejection with dignity and move ahead. Something is a better fit for you out there.
Now for some fun! Rapid Fire Questions:
Favorite Things: My boys, my books, my very big glass of wine. Springtime in Michigan. Hallelujah!
Pet Peeves: People who are late. I’m a working mother with two boys, chaos everywhere, and I can still make things on time.
Addictions: Many. I have that type of personality. Which is a bugger, really.
Kick Ass Superpower: Uhh… I wouldn’t say commas. LOL I’m always asking Miss Penny for advice. Commas are fickle creatures. Perhaps my superpower is I can edit in insane conditions. I work from home so no screaming, fighting, tantrums, cartoons, telly noise, snack demands, kids crawling on lap, nappie changes, dog barking, vomiting or otherwise can distract me from your words.
Your best book boyfriend: Argh, this one is way too hard. I’ve read too many good books and have found way too many sexy heroes, many of them in the books of my authors.
- For the night: Jack Reacher (but not after the Tom Cruise portrayal. I was absolutely in lust with the man until the movie came out)
- For a dirty weekend: Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables? LMAO. Hey, he might have it in him.
- To have and to hold: Mr. Darcy, of course.
David veered off the gravel road and rolled to a stop at the edge of the wood. The bright gibbous moon hung high, painting the field silver. There was no one in sight.
“I thought you said they’d be at Spencer Hill,” said Olivia, peering over the tops of the trees toward the iconic mound rising above the landscape.
“We’ve beaten them here.”
He shoved the car in park and jumped out. Olivia met him on the driver’s side. He held out his hand, desperation tightening the lines of his face. No matter that she was doubting her own sanity, she knew David well enough to understand that this was real. Real fear. Real danger. She let him guide her into the dense woods surrounding Spencer Hill, her intuition urging her on.
“How do you know they’re not already here?” she whispered.
He glanced back, his eyes sparking molten gold. More proof that she’d stepped into a supernatural world she hadn’t known existed a half an hour ago.
“Spencer Hill is the extraction point. They’ll take Mazie from here as fast as they can. If Mazie was no longer in this world, I’d sense that she was gone.” He paused in a pool of moonlight and gazed upward. His throat worked as he swallowed hard, his heart in his voice. “She’s still here.”
Olivia gripped his hand tighter and edged closer. “You can sense her?”
“Yes.” He lowered his gaze, drinking her in. “As I can sense you, Liv. As I’ve always sensed you. Felt you.”
It was Olivia’s turn to swallow hard. His words sparked a memory of their first kiss. Standing in the parking lot after a football game, they laughed about their panther mascot and the opposing team’s tiger breaking out into a furry fist-fight. David walked her to the passenger side of the car and leaned close from behind to open the door. Olivia didn’t move to give him space. She wanted him even closer. She covered his hand with her own still on the door handle. He froze then pressed his lips to the curve of her bare neck, her hair up in a ponytail. She tilted her head to the side, encouraging him. Hands on her waist, he twisted her around and pressed her body into the car with his own. A surreal moment stretched where nothing mattered but him and her and this undeniable attraction blazing like wildfire between them.
“Do you feel it?” he asked, leaning closer, their breaths coming faster.
She nodded. “Yes.” The energy buzzing between them felt unnatural…perhaps supernatural. When his lips found hers, tasting with gentle sweetness then melting into fevered desire, when he slid his tongue along hers with a deep moan, she knew he was the one. The one who’d take her heart and break it if he ever left, the one who’d ruin her for any other man.
And so he had.
Snapping back to the present, she stared up at the beautiful man who’d haunted her dreams, her nightmares, and had destroyed any chance of her loving another.
He pulled her closer and pressed their clasped hands to his chest. “Do you feel it, Liv?” His words echoed from the past.
With the fresh sting of her old heartbreak aching anew, she wanted to jerk her hand free and slap him hard for the pain he’d etched so deep. Something stopped her. A vibration of energy throbbed in her chest, or was it coming from David? Her skin tingled, the hair on her neck stood on end, her heart raced at the hum coursing through her body. Her chest rose and fell in rapid succession as a pulsing energy swelled and surrounded them.
“Is that you…or me?”
“Both of us.” His voice dropped low and deep.
He pressed so close, their clasped hands were trapped between their chests. Olivia couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t dare look away as David lowered his head and swept his lips once across hers.
“We belong together,” he whispered, grazing her mouth. “We always have.”
He lingered, waiting for her acceptance. Or her rejection. She could’ve spurned him. She could’ve pushed him away and hurt him as he’d hurt her, gaining some small satisfaction in revenge of the coldest kind. But that wasn’t who she was. A deep knowing resonated in the air. This moment was about more than their past or their future together. There was only one course to take. She gave a single nod.
David released her hand, sliding his own to the small of her back and pulled her closer. He combed the other into her hair, holding her like his life depended on it. He angled his lips against hers, coaxing them apart. Gentle and soft.
A slow burn radiated in her chest. She pulled away on a gasp. His eyes flashed with unnatural luster. Then he smiled.
“What?” she asked, half-drunk from their brief kiss.
“What about them?”
“Your inner light has finally ignited. As I’d hoped.”
“What does that mean?” she asked, still panting.
“Your powers are awakening.”
Unable to process all that she’d learned in such a short time, she somehow believed every word. A bone-deep knowing told her this was true.
“My eyes are gold like yours?”
“No. Brilliant sapphire.” He swept a lock of hair away that had fallen across her forehead. “So beautiful. I’ve heard of your kind and the beauty of your inner light for so long, but I thought I’d never see it for myself.”
Confused, Olivia frowned. “I don’t understand. I thought we were the same kind. You said I was like you.”
David’s expression softened. “We are from the same world, Liv. But I am Aldorian. You are a Lumeri.” He shook his head, smiling, even while his brow pinched together into a frown. “You’re not just any Lumeri. You’re the daughter of Darion, the leader of the rebels.”
“What! The ones who took Mazie?”
A twig snapped behind them. David pulled her back into the shadows.
“Shh. They’re here.”
I’m sharing one of my favorite books with you today. Anya Monroe’s For Sure and Certain is a Contemporary YA romance but it’s also more than that. It’s about two people at the time in their lives when they’re asked to define themselves and they’ve yet to even begin living. Its about making the best decision one can at the time.
Abel is Amish but thinks he might not want to be. Marigold is not Amish but thinks it might actually suit her. And they fall in love.
I fell in love with this book and I hope you do to. Give it a try:-)
Here’s the blurb:
She knits, cans jam, and lives in the city. He’s an Amish college student, breaking the rules. They’re so right, it’s wrong.
Marigold, a recent high school graduate with a shady past, is looking to redefine herself. She doesn’t know what she wants exactly, but college isn’t it.
When she meets Abel, an Amish guy on Rumspringa, his ‘running around’ time, she doesn’t plan on falling for someone wearing a straw hat and suspenders. But she can’t help it, Abel is the breath of fresh air she’s been waiting for.
Abel, who’s moved to the city for a summer program at Jamestown, never imagined Marigold would be drawn to the life he was trying so hard to avoid. His family expects him to take over the family farm; college parties and dorm life don’t quite fit in with their plans for him.
Opposites attract, but nothing is easy with love. When they trade places for the summer they learn a life together isn’t as for sure and certain as they thought.
Come on, you know you’re guilty of hashtagging. You no longer call it a pound sign- it’s a #hashtag. You’ve made the #hashtag mark with your fingers. You’ve spent time thinking of fun, quirky #hashtags. It’s ok. You aren’t alone.
If by some chance you haven’t #hashtagged. Well, this video might change that for you. You can thank me later:-)
I’ll confess- #Hashtagging is one of my favorite things. I’ve come up with some real bizarre ones and, for me, they are almost as good as autocorrect mistakes. What are some of the funniest ones you’ve seen?
Welcome to our KickAss Blogger of the week! Today I’m introducing you to Corrina Lawson and the GeekMom.com blog.
Yeah, these guys seriously kick ass in the blogosphere. I’ll be having Corrina back at a later date so she can tell us about her own kick ass books, but for now let’s find out about Geek Mom.
First, Corrina, tell us a little about yourself, what you do, and why. (Appx 2-5 paragraphs.)
Hi! Thanks for having me!
I’m a co-founder and the Content Director of GeekMom.com, a website dedicated to all the stuff that our moms find geeky, from DIY projects, to pop culture, to science, to toys, and everything in between. We have about 20 writers/editors and our pieces range from education to opinion pieces on the role of girls and women in our world and just plain gushing about stuff we love, from X-Files, to Captain Marvel to A Wrinkle in Time. I adore all the GeekMoms on our site. My tribe.
Confession: I became a journalist because of Lois Lane. I watched the black and white re-runs of the George Reeves Superman show as a kid and Lois was the first woman who I saw who had a job outside the house. And it was a really cool job
Lois is my spirit animal.
Now for what you really want to know. Those Rapid Fire questions dear to the heart of any KickAss Chick.
Does my family count as things? I do call my four kids “minions?”
Cats. I’ve had many cats over the years and have two right now but my special cat will forever be my tortoiseshell, Elf kitty, who lived until 22 and a half.
I have a shelf in a glass front bookcase of all the items made for me by my kids over the years. If there’s ever a fire in my house, that’s what I’m grabbing. (Assuming the family and the pets are okay.)
My collection of passes to various writing and comic book conventions, most of them as press or as a paneliss. I still can’t believe I was on a panel at New York Comic Con. TWICE. The best part? My kids came to some of them with me. We did a family vacation to New York Comic Con one year.
“Too Stupid to Live” characters in fiction. The flip side is that I love intelligence in characters. Whatever a character’s looks, if they’re smart, I’m going to crush on them. I’m currently watching Wolf Hall where Thomas Cronwell (Mark Rylance) is always the smartest guy in the room and I’m fascinated.
Real life? People who talk on cell phones while driving. I’ve been nearly hit one too many times.
Fresh buttered popcorn
Reeses Peanut Butter cups, especially the special ones for Halloween, Christmas & Easter.
As a teenager, I was addicted to the study of the English Royal Plantagenets. I can recite all the Kings/Queens of England from William the Conqueror to Elizabeth II from memory.
Kick Ass Superpower:
Multitasking! I have four kids, I have a non-fiction life as a GeekMom, I have a fictional career as genre writer, and, oh, I also have the husband, the dog, and the cats.
Your best book boyfriend:
- For the night: Robinton, Masterharper of Pern, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. I have the night planned out. First, he’s going to sing for me, then he’s going to recite poetry, then sex, then some more singing.
- For a dirty weekend: Philip Drake of my own book, Phoenix Legacy. Philip is a very messed up dude, which means he’s perfect for that dirty weekend of ‘whatever you want.’
- To have and to hold: Too many choices. I’m forever crushing on fictional dudes. I narrow it down to two:
Aral Vorkosigan of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series because he’s so smart, so loyal, so competent, and so determined to do right by his people.
Clark Kent/Superman. Sure, everyone wants the dark, brooding Batman but there’s no commitment there. At heart, Clark is a nice, small town boy who treats women right. Plus, totally hot, and there’s the whole “possible sex when flying” deal.
Thanks for stopping by! You can find out more about Corrina and Geek Mom below.
Olivia had been seated only moments in Dottie’s Dinner when she heard her name shouted from across the room. A frightened, determined look on his face, David strode across the room.
He lurched to a stop at her side. “We’ve got to go.”
Concerned about his agitated state, Liv craned her neck to see around his broad shoulders. “Where’s Mazie?”
“They’ve got her. I thought we had time, but they’ve escalated the timetable.” He grabbed her arm and tugged her to her feet. “Please, you have to help me.”
She jerked her arm from his grasp. “David, you aren’t making sense. Who’s got her? Your parents?”
“Those weren’t my parents. They were my guards on this planet.” Glancing away, he dragged a hand through his hair, leaving the auburn waves looking disheveled, leaning toward outright crazy. His tone was low but sincere. “I thought I’d have time to ease you into this, but they’ve stolen that luxury. I’ll explain on the way to the rendezvous point. Please come with me. I can’t save Mazie without your help. She’s everything to me. To our people.”
Guards? This planet? What the he— He was talking crazy. His parents had always been protective, and maybe a little secretive. And there had been a really ugly scene when they’d caught her and David fooling around on his bed. They’d kicked her out of their house and out of David’s life. The senior Mr. Ray had ordered her to stay away from their son. Then they’d welcomed Margot with open arms. That had stung.
There’d been a time in her life when she’d have done anything for him, no questions asked. A time when she believed she’d be able to fly with his help. He’d never asked more of her than she’d been willing to give. In truth, she’d have given more, if he’d given her the tiniest hint all those years ago. And now he needed help to save his daughter from some unknown danger. Spurred on by the urgency in his voice, Liv made a snap decision she prayed she wouldn’t regret. “Okay. Let’s go.”
His hand was heated around hers as she raced with him to the car. The engine fired to life and loose gravel spun under the tires as David accelerated from Dottie’s lot before she’d even buckled her seat belt. Lips compressed into a grim line, he handled the vehicle like a professional racecar driver.
So many questions stormed through her mind, she wasn’t completely sure which one to ask first. “Talk to me, David. What’s going on? Where are we going?
“Spencer’s Hill. It’s the assigned meeting point in an emergency like this. We’re not from here, Liv. Mazie, me, my parents, Margot.” He lifted a hand from the wheel and pointed to the sky. “We’re from there. A small contingent of us arrived nearly thirty years ago as refugees from a world in another galaxy. Unrest made it necessary to hide from our enemies and Earth was the ideal spot.” He sucked in a huge breath and blew it out in a rush as he navigated the dark narrow road. “My real father is the supreme prelate on our planet. Like an emperor. He sent me away as a child to protect me. I led as normal a life as possible for an alien. But I’m next in the line of succession, and then Mazie.”
He let out a harsh laugh and glanced away from the road to look at her. His normally warm brown eyes had turned to leonine gold. And they glowed with an ethereal light. Liv’s arm stung where she pinched it, hoping to convince herself she was asleep and dreaming of the crazy tale David was telling her.
Nope, not asleep.
All these years, she’d had no idea. Hell, she’d almost lost her virginity to an alien. She gripped the cold metal door handle as they careened around a sharp bend in the road. Her emotions lurched as crazily as the car. She’d always known he was special, she’d just had no idea how much.
He steered around the next bend in the winding road a bit slower. “We received communication from the home world several months ago that additional trouble was brewing. A fleet of rebels headed to Earth to find us. Don’t know if they were going to take us as political prisoners, or kill us. They have no way of knowing exactly where we are, but every one of us was in danger of being found by their trackers. Our people been evacuating to another location for the last month. Unfortunately, they found Mazie and me tonight.”
Fear and confusion gripped her throat, making it hard to speak. She swallowed hard and forced the words out. “I don’t…Why me? You said I was the only one who could help you save Mazie. Surely you need someone like you to rescue her.”
He heaved a great sigh. “Liv, you are like us.”