Wednesday, February 27, 2013

WHITE SWANS - Annamaria Bazzi's New YA Book Announcement

Book Release Announcement
by annamaria bazzi

Left an orphan, Kendíka cries herself to sleep and startles awake in a Regency castle. Terror consumes her, and she attempts to escape only to discover the new world is her prison. Having no choice, she attends a ball given by her guardian, Lord Deverow, to introduce her into society. He admonishes her to follow the rules and promises to protect her from the wrath of the strange, hazy set of eyes spying on everything. But when she ignores his warning, Kendíka learns firsthand what it means to be disobedient.

Genre : YA Fantasy
Expected Release Date : March 1, 2013
Cover Designer : Jennifer Killby

About the Author :

Although born in the United States, Annamaria Bazzi spent a great deal of her childhood in Sicily, Italy, in a town called Sciacca. Italian was the language spoken at home. Therefore, she had no problems when she found herself growing up in a strange country.

Upon returning to the states, she promised herself she would speak without an accent.

She attended Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Computers with a minor in Spanish.

Annamaria spent twenty years programming systems for large corporations, creating innovative solution, and addressing customer problems. During those years, she raised four daughters and one husband. Annamaria lives in Richmond Virginia with her small family where she now dedicates a good part of her day writing.

You can visit Annamaria at:

Twitter : @AMBazzi

Links to Annamaria's Books:

A Simple Matter of Justice

at Amazon

Revelation of Abaddon

at Amazon

Monday, February 25, 2013



SNARKY RESPONSE: But a smart man won't admit it out loud.

A brave man is the one that is not afraid to admit his mistake.

Mistakes. We hate to make 'em. We hate to have to correct 'em. But more importantly, we hate to be caught making one. Nothing will make a writer cringe more than hearing someone point out a mistake in your latest piece. Punctuation mistakes, grammar bumbles, plotting snafu's, and characterization gaffs can make a writer want to crawl under that rock the reader obviously thinks you climbed out from underneath. (Not that everyone who points out an error to a writer thinks the writer is a total idiot. Just that the writer usually feels like one.) The point is not to have to discover and own up to them after you put those pages out there for public consumption, or submit for publication.

Mistakes happen. No matter how hard we try, writers make mistakes while putting words to paper. Few and far between are the writers who produce grammatically correct and perfectly punctuated text the first time onto the page. In the clutches of the creative process getting the stalwart hero through that horrific confrontation with the dastardly villain far outweighs pausing to ponder silly things like punctuation and grammar.

And that's okay. For First Drafts. First Drafts are precisely that--the First of many before Publication. I won't pretend to tell you how many drafts are the optimum number of drafts, because every writer is different, but I'd suggest you need a minimum of four. 

When you've got that First Draft complete and in the file, that's when you begin correcting the mistakes that slipped through the cracks with the clues left by your murderer.

Second Draft is for things like plotting, pacing, characterization. These are things that you'll smack your head over but have fun correcting. Well, sometimes you want to shoot yourself  because you discover that the crazy aunt in Chapter 1 not only changed her name by Chapter 4, but also her sex by Chapter 7, and his residence by Chapter 9. Or that great fight scene you labored over for hours just doesn't work where it is in the story. In fact, and here's a real kick-in-the-gut, it may not fit anywhere, at all. And then there are the plot knots where you realize that amazing Chapter 10 couldn't have happened because you forgot to lay the groundwork for it in Chapter 3.

Drafts Three through Draft Number "If I have to read this again, I'm going to kill myself," are for further fine-tuning. Carving out chapters that don't work. Writing new ones that do. Killing off that character who's getting in the way. Combining a couple of minor characters into one multi-purpose side-kick. Dumping or re-writing that First Chapter because it no longer fits with the ending. Paring away about a billion extra words, because, less is more, more or less.

The Last Draft (whatever it's number) is the fine-tuning. When you've got the words right, you can then make sure they're all polished with perfect grammar and punctuation. I'm not saying you shouldn't be correcting grammar and punctuation as you go along. It's important to maintain the quality of your writing at all times. However, why labor over punctuation and grammar on sections you may end up heaving into File 13? No, fix 'em when you see 'em. However,  you should dedicate the last and final draft to making sure that you did dot all those i's, cross all those t's, and punctuated every sentence perfectly.

And let me let you in on a little secret. Even after all that. Even after you've edited and proofed until you're cross-eyed, you need an outside set of eyes to read it over. You've gotten so close to your work that you probably won't see some of the errors, but that Beta Reader will, and bless their hearts, that's exactly why you have them.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


On the Third Thursday of Every Month, my MYTH PERCEPTIONS blog appears at Words, Women, Wisdom.

My current series of Myth explorations revolves around shapeshifters.

This month is about Foxy Ladies - Asian Fox Spirits - Some very interesting spirits with a dangerously mischievous side. Sometimes even deadly intent. But, as the old radio show said, "the shadow knows." These fox spirits are often betrayed by their shadows. So, if your foxy lady is a bit shady, shy of bright lights, you might be in for heartbreak or an unintentional organ donation. Visit W3 to see what I mean.

The Kinziscale, Lost Girl

Oh, and as a bit of late breaking news - One of my absolute fav Syfy series, Lost Girl, featured kitsune as the fae-flavor of the night. A whole sorority of foxy ladies.

Last month was the kick-off post contrasting Werewolves and Shapeshifters - My understanding is that these terms are not precisely interchangeable. Traditional werewolves respond to the call of the full moon. The historic representation of werewolves involve a curse or unsolicited bites. Modern tropes are changing. Shapeshifters have never been unable to control the where and when of their changes.

I'll be continuing my tour of shapeshifter mythology next month with Kelpies.

If you like shapeshifter stories, please check out my book, COLLECTOR'S ITEM, currently available exclusively on Kindle -

Monday, February 18, 2013



SNARKY RESPONSE:  But human sacrifice is frowned upon. Yes, I know some people are just asking to be sacrificed, but you must rise above it. Deep breath. Let it go. Just let it go.

Little rituals will help you achieve success

Everyone has little rituals to ensure good luck. Spill some salt, throw a pinch over your shoulder. Beware of that much maligned black cat who might saunter across your path. Find a penny, pick it up, all day long you'll have good luck. The list goes on and on.

Athletes are notoriously superstitious. Pre-game rituals abound from lucky pieces of clothing to fortuitous meals to specific actions.

And writers can be just as superstitious. That new journal every New Year's Day. The special pen. The same space at the coffee shop. But I'm not here to discuss our personal good luck routines. I'm digging into the harder stuff. The actual work rituals that will get a writer ahead in this world.

First and foremost - write every day. Drilled into every writer's head by every teacher, workshop leader, critique group, writing manual. Set aside a time every day to write. The ritual of writing is required if you plan to achieve any level of success. You can't publish that fabulous idea sizzling on your brainpan unless you put it down on paper/screen.

Set ground rules about your writing time. Make sure that everyone in the household understands that you are unavailable when you are writing. I've heard quite a few full-time writers laughingly admit to telling their families that unless there is blood involved, they are not to be interrupted while they are writing. And you must refrain from jumping up to check on this, intervene in that--you're writing.

Stop before you reach the end of a scene/chapter. By leaving you and your characters hanging you can make the next day's jump start that much easier. It will also get you back in that chair because your brain is just dying to finish that piece.

Timed writing. It's so easy to fritter away that precious writing time, doodling, researching, clearing your desk, busy work. However, creating a little ritual of timed writing will help you focus on quality writing time. When you've got a deadline, a designated period, it's less likely that you'll dither off. Borrow that kitchen timer or use my favorite website - - and commit to a short period of time - 30 or 45 minutes work best. Fifteen minutes is hardly enough time to work up a slight roil in the creative juices. You want a full head of steam and 30 or 45 minutes work best. BUT if all you have is fifteen minutes, then do it! Set the timer and start banging out the words until it buzzes, beeps, or shrieks.

Listening to music is a kind of ritual for some writers. The perfect playlist can help to pump up the creative muscles. Just be careful that you don't pick anything too distracting. Getting up to bust a few moves can break the creative flow unless you are one of those folks who moves to muse. In that case, shake it but don't break it.

Join a critique partner/group & participate. Writing is a solitary endeavor, but to hone your writing, nothing is more helpful than a good critique partner or group. Not only do you learn from them, but participation forces you to be accountable. The critique group ritual will dictate that you produce pages to submit, and those pages need to be quality pages.

Attend workshops/conferences/classes. Build on the foundation laid with your critique partner/group by attending writing workshops/conferences/classes. Not only for the craft of writing but also for the business of writing. The landscape of publishing is shifting like the coastline in a hurricane and you need to keep a weather eye on the horizon.

So, those are a few suggestions from me. Now, let me open it up to the floor. What are some of your writing rituals? What do you do to help you focus on the work? How do you lure your muse out of hiding?

Monday, February 11, 2013



SNARKY RESPONSE: Exactly what I said about dessert the other day! But I ordered it anyway.

Nothing dared, nothing gained

This week's Fortune Cookie works surprisingly well for me. About time! And speaking of time...

Over at NPR, they're running a little writing contest called Three Minute Fiction.

Writers are asked to write and submit a short, and I mean short, piece of fiction that can be read on air in three minutes, roughly 600 words. Entries had to be submitted by midnight last night, February 10th.

They choose a theme for the entries and this year the story has to be in the form of a voice mail message.

The fearless leader of my science fiction and fantasy critique group, Bud Webster challenged us earlier this year to participate in the next contest. He wanted us to step outside of our current WIPs and comfort zones to meet a challenge and a deadline!

Short or Flash Fiction is mucho hard for me. I'm a novella gal. Though I have had two short stories published, it's not my medium. However, I agreed with Bud that we should stretch ourselves. So when I heard about this year's contest, I decided to do it.

There were so many different ways to approach the voice mail concept, but I settled on a basically tried and true one. With a little twist to make it more interesting.

It's the "I'm sorry. I don't really want to break up" call. The "I take it back" that may or may not be welcome words after the recipient of the break-up has been up all night attempting triage on a broken heart and dreams.

My twists were to (1) set a time-limit on the response, (2) show that the deadline is missed, and (3) hint at a darker problem at issue in this relationship or with this apologetic soul.

I set up my time limit with the "unnamed" caller being in the airport leaving for an unavoidable trip. He wants the recipient, Maria, to call him back before he leaves as a sign that she'll take him back.

However, in this day of cell phones and international coverage, why would such a deadline be necessary?

It wouldn't, UNLESS my person will be incommunicado or have to "go dark" for some reason. Heading into the depths of the Amazon or onto the frozen tundras of Antarctica  Or is it something more nefarious? Something involving "contracts," per se.

Well, that's where I went and that's what I sent. If it never makes it past the first round, I'll be posting it here later. Fingers crossed. 

Monday, February 4, 2013



SNARKY RESPONSE: Yeah, Fate's a tough broad and she doesn't forget a thing!

Fate is full of irony. What you dish out will come back for you.

Like they say, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. In this day and age, everything is recordable and once shared with the www, it lives forever. No take backs. No do overs.

I can't remember a more powerful illustration than the one about the writer who publicly imploded over what they felt was a negative review. It was worse than watching a digital train wreck and knowing it was going to live forever in the www. And no, I'm not going to share the link here.

Today's fortune cookie is an invitation to be preachy and I don't like to be preachy if I can help it. So, I'm going to cut today's blog short of that slippery slope and hope you have a great week.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on today's fortune cookie.