Feb 102015
 

by Doranna

c.alpha.rising.72Oh right.  It’s an author blog.  And occasionally books become available!  I should maybe mention that?

This month, the book is Alpha Rising Very cool cover.  Love the UK version even more!

(Except I’ve got to say…the back cover copy is NOT MY FAULT.  And it doesn’t reflect the book’s nature, or the hero’s nature.  I am so full of headdesk that I’ve actually had to clear surfaces.) Continue reading »

Nov 122014
 

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to submit a story to editor Becky Kyle for the anthology Tails from the Front Lines.  Hard to resist, when the proceeds are slated for donation to TADSAW (Train a Dog, Save a Warrior).

Right.  Service dogs for our wounded, whether physically or emotionally or both.  So I was very happy when I got the word that Just Hanah would be part of the anthology.  And naturally I was curious as to how it all came about, so…I asked!  And discovered that I’m not the only one out there who’s still a hippy-era kid at heart…


Becky:

I was a hippie-era kid. At twelve, I wanted to go to Woodstock. I protested Viet Nam. Every few months, we got word another soldier was gone. As I got into high school, my male classmates worried about what they’d do after graduation and if their number would be called.

Around that time, we stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance. I still stood, still held my hand over my heart, but I couldn’t speak a word of it. Most everyone had a friend, a family member, even a brother who’d done to war and didn’t come back.

Already, I felt like I was stuck in a dystopia.  I was sixteen and there had never been a time my country wasn’t at war.

The one thing I never did was blame the troops. None of them approved the Declaration of War or signed it. They just went to war when our country called them to.

Years later, when I was in Library School, I got involved with the Operation Paperback collections. From there, I started sending care packages to the troops as an extra Christmas present. In 2003, when a friend’s husband went to Iraq with only one pair of underwear and socks, we took up a collection to get him and his men the supplies they needed. It’s nothing heroic—it’s just saying thanks for an often thankless job.

A year ago, my phone rang. My husband answered it, covered the mouthpiece, and said:

“It’s Cindy, you should answer this.”

My heart fluttered. Cindy is an ER nurse in Indiana. She’s funny, good-hearted, and one of the most unflappable people I know.  When I got on the phone, Cindy was sobbing. It took a bit for her to calm down enough to be coherent.

The son of one of one of her fellow nurses, twenty-two years old and just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan two weeks before, had shot himself. What was worse was that his Dad’s firefighter company had been to the ones to transport him to the ER.

Every emergency worker who tended this young man as he died knew him. They watched him grow up. They cheered when he did well and they were all grateful when he came home safe and seemingly unharmed.

The only good that came of this tragedy was that the young man had signed an organ donation card. Doctors and nurses who knew him performed the last surgeries on him and sent the organs to new homes where they’d save lives.

By the time Cindy was done, I was sobbing.

Being a research nerd, I started looking into veteran suicides. What I didn’t know was that twenty-two soldiers killed themselves every day.

This was more than books and underwear. I had to do something.

I’d been reading about therapy dogs and how much they assisted soldiers with PTSD. An animal can get a soldier outside and into the world again without feeling alone. The presence of a dog can literally reduce their prescribed medicines by half.  I found TADSAW (Train a Dog, Save a Warrior) online and was highly impressed that they got many of their dogs from shelters or used the warrior’s own pet to train.

It was sheer luck that I mentioned wanting to do something to the right person, Carol Hightshoe, publisher/editor at Wolfsinger Press. Carol was onboard quicker than I could have imagined. While I have served as part of the editorial staff for several venues, I never expected to have only my name on the masthead. Carol was wonderful to provide support and helpful hints whenever I needed them.

Tails from the Front Lines became available on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2014. The anthology is comprised of twelve short stories written by well-known veteran authors to two first-time publications.  They cover everything from fantasy realms to the future. Best of all, proceeds will go to TADSAW to help provide soldiers with companions who will help them re-enter society and lessen their chances of falling into despair.


Tailsfromthefrontlinescover.144So yeah. Becky didn’t do it, but I’m going to.  The anthology is freshly available at Amazon (including a trade paperback version) and Nook.

Meanwhile, I’ve got the happies.  It’s cool to have the opportunity to help!

Sep 192014
 

By Patty Wilber

I spent three days at the New Mexico State Fair last week and never left the horse barn.

The Orange Cone Area is for loading and unloading only.  ( nailed a few cones when I drove in.  I didn't see them! I swear!

The Orange Cone Area is for loading and unloading only. (Nailed a few cones when I drove the trailer in. I didn’t see them! I swear!)

In my defense, by the time the horse stuff was done I was tired and the midway and main street and crowds just didn’t appeal!

Continue reading »

Aug 202014
 

So, hey! You may have seen signs of Donna Fasano across the Internets; she’s generous with time and knowledge to reader and writer alike. This interview came my way, and it’s a pleasure to share this peek into her brain!

(I’m not sure that came out just right. But here it is anyway!  Have fun!  And no peeking into MY brain.  Far too scary…) Continue reading »

May 182014
 

Doranna & DuncanThis is Doranna Durgin’s WordPlay Blog. I’m glad you’re here–whether it’s to learn more about my books, or chat about dogs, horses, and reading.

On Fridays, The Write Horse usually stops by for life with horse training, written by Patty Wilber.

If you’d like to reach my Webstead, you can clicky on that link you just passed. Right there. Behind you! The one that said Webstead.

PS although I use a plug-in that allows commenters to sign in, it’s easy to post as a guest and guest commenters are welcome!

Apr 142014
 

by Doranna

Doranna & DuncanEvery once in a while I do guest and/or interview blogs elsewhere.  On the theory that not everyone here is there (and the other way around), I tend to post such things at Wordplay, too.  Hope it gives you grins!

(This particular interview first posted at Writers & Other Animals.)

Tell us a little about your background…

Oh, it’s complicated.  Start with one animal lover, determined to become a vet.  Life happens.  End up in Environmental Education, and then in a stunningly remote area of the Appalachian mountains.  Hand-built log cabin, a hundred acres…dogs, wood stove, and endless tromps in the woods together.  Enough people to generate lost and dumped dogs, not enough to have a shelter, so UPS would drop dogs off at our place for rescue.  And with the vet hours away, I found myself dealing with mange, broken bones, snakebite, varmint damage…even gunshot. Continue reading »

Apr 012014
 

Guest Post by Mindy Klasky

Thanks, Doranna, for letting me hang out here today and for allowing me to share some of the background of my Diamond Brides Series, including Perfect Pitch, which is in stores now.

Once upon a time, I wrote my first novel. The Thirteenth Teaching was an epic fantasy, a quest novel that involved the collection of twelve artifacts, each pointing toward the reincarnation of a vengeful goddess. Clocking in at 175,000 words, Teaching was rejected by every major publisher in New York. Continue reading »

Mar 172014
 

I’ve been tagged! Tagged, that is, to participate in a blog hop for writers, which I think is actually supposed to be called “My Writing Process.”  But, you know, what fun is that?

Every Monday authors blog about their own writing process, using this format. This is definitely a multi-genre hop–so I feel like I fit right in!

(Except for the part where I somehow wasn’t included in the blog hop links, so…I guess I’m on my own.  But I did the blog, so I’m doggonit gonna put it up!)

PS We retrospectively figured that out!  Thanks to Susan Holmes, who did the hop a few weeks ago.

What am I working on? Continue reading »

Feb 112014
 

by Doranna

More of an Underwear Evolution than a Bloggy Evolution.  But it amused me.

More of an Underwear Evolution than a Bloggy Evolution. But it amused me.

Yep, I’m in a process. 

I’ve never been particularly good at saying, “Hey!  I’m a writer!  I would really like it if people bought my stuff, read my stuff, and hey, even enjoyed my stuff.”  Because it’s not just how I make my living, such as it is–it’s what drives my life forward.  Writing.  Reading.  Knowing it matters.

Consequently, I get a little shucky-darn when it comes to putting my stuff out there.  For one thing, saying, “I would really like it if…” leaves one entirely open to the crushing response of “but we don’t actually like you.”  (Ouch, right?) Continue reading »

Aug 052013
 

Guest Blog by Tara Maya

Every once in a while, bopping around the blogosphere, there’s a pleasant little collision of chance and serendipity, and you walk away with a smile.  Such it was when I stumbled into Tara’s first installation of her indie series The Unfinished Song (note: “installation” means “be ready for a cliffhanger”).  Lovely cover–yes, it matters–intriguing world-building, interesting magic, and great character stakes.  She was interested in blogging around, so…here you are!  Pretty much everything she says here about the Five Signs…yeah, me too!

Five Signs You’re a Writer

tara maya headshot1. You read. A LOT.

You read constantly, or at least did at one point in your life. Some of us had more time to read (for pleasure) when we are kids, but are swamped with work now. For others, literature seemed boring when we were younger, but now has appeal. In my case, I devoured science fiction and fantasy when I was younger, but while I was in grad school most of my reading was non-fiction. Once I graduated, I had time for fiction again. I do still read non-fiction for pleasure and for research.

 

2. You have been coming up with stories since you were a kid.

You have way more story ideas than you could ever write down. When did you write your first “story”? Okay, maybe it wasn’t much of a story, but when did you start trying? In my case, I made little pretend “books” out of folded paper and scribbles before I could write my ABCs. I wrote my first four complete and illustrated stories in fifth grade and completed my first novel in Jr. High. Granted, they all sucked rocks. But I know I am not unusual in starting out young. Most writers I know began writing early. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they published early, or that those around them recognized their efforts.

 

3. You have a bunch of manuscripts under your bed.

It’s one thing to write stories in your head. That makes you a storyteller. But not yet a writer. If you’ve actually written down your words, that’s what makes you a writer. Not getting published. Writing is what makes a writer. Getting published, and more to the point, selling copies, is what makes you a paid writer, a professional writer, a writer who can actually eat something other than ramen noodles, and that’s a good thing. But you’ve already started writing without any idea whether you can sell those words or not.

 

4. You write for love, not for money.

Let’s face it. You know that being a writer is not as lucrative as other jobs, like doctor, lawyer or fast food employee. Screw that. You’re writing anyway. Cruel reality may force you into a day job. It happens. You write anyway. You’re jotting down ideas for your novel between flipping burgers or taking notes on your character in your office cubicle. You care enough to constantly hone your craft. You would write even if your plane crashed on a deserted island. Even if you were locked in a prison on Gamma Beta IV. Even if you had to become an accountant.

 

5. You write for money, not love.

Nah, this doesn’t really contradict what I just said. It only seems to. Because if you really love writing–or any art–enough, you’ll realize that the only way anyone will let you do it full time is if you can get good enough to earn mullah at the same time. Yeah. By selling your writing. So even though it feels like jabbing steak knives into your eyes, you send out queries, you send out review requests, you–ugh, self-promote. You sell your sweat and tears as if it were vacuum cleaner parts. And on days when the sky is grey and your nose is runny, you feel sorry for yourself because it turns out that writing is a job, and all jobs have moments that suck. The rest of the time, you appreciate–I sure hope you appreciate because otherwise why do this?–that you have the best damn job in the world.

 

Unfinished Song-Initate-100Bio

Tara Maya has lived in Africa, Europe and Asia. She’s pounded sorghum with mortar and pestle in a little clay village where the jungle meets the desert, meditated in a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas and sailed the Volga river to a secret city that was once the heart of the Soviet space program. This first-hand experience, as well as research into the strange and piquant histories of lost civilizations, inspires her writing. Her terrible housekeeping, however, is entirely the fault of pixies. To find out more about Tara’s SF and fantasy novels, you can visit her blog, Twitter or Facebook.