Thursday, October 24, 2013

Do You Like Dinosaurs?

Then we have something special for you!

"Dinosaur George" Blasing and I have teamed up to bring his popular YouTube series to life in a whole new way.

Ask DG is a new series ideal for Kindergarten through Third Grade (or the reading level equivalent). It is also perfect for parents and teachers to read to their young paleontologists.

Mamta Madhavan for Reader's Favorite book reviews gives it 5 stars and says, "I found this book packed with information...The language is simple and understandable for a small child too."

The book is designed in a basic question and answer format. Every answer comes with humorous and explanatory illustrations. The questions come from DG's real-life fans. As the series develops it will become more interactive.

For me, the real treat is working with one of my heroes. George is a kind, selfless and generous human being. He made an impression on me the first time I saw him on Jurassic Fight Club several years ago. He is constantly working for the betterment of young people through education and compassion. We have become friends in that time and it is my privilege to be presenting his knowledge in this way.

In case you are not one of his millions of world-wide fans, here is more about DG from his official website: “Dinosaur George” Blasing is a self taught paleontologist and animal behaviorist with more than 35 years of study and research. Blasing is a public speaker, writer and television personality who has performed live to over 2 million people and has lectured in over 2800 museums, schools and public events. He is the writer, co-creator and host of JURASSIC FIGHT CLUB on the History Channel. Dinosaur George has spent over 18 years teaching Elementary, Intermediate and Middle school students about the amazing creatures that once ruled our planet. And with the addition of his latest program, Museum in the Classroom, he is now able to bring an entire museum to the schools he visits.

We certainly hope you enjoy this book!
It is available now at

Mark and George are both on Facebook too!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Guest Post: Candice Bowser

Inside the mind of an author…now there is a truly terrifying, absolutely mystical, magical place filled with unspeakable horrors, love so deep it transcends time, and the simplicity of a child. 

What makes a writer tick? 

That is double edged question that many have pondered; for me it is a combination of things. Every author is different in how they formulate a story. Some have story boards where they write down all the ideas they have for the novel and then figure out how to weave it all together. Others create outlines with unbelievable details, and then there are authors like me who know the beginning, know how they want it to end, and what comes in the middle, well that is often left to be determined. 

My husband laughs a lot because my purse is a virtual cornucopia of left over characters, undeveloped plot lines, secret betrayals, and unparalleled horror scribbled on pieces of notepaper, napkins, and whatever else was available to write on, including checks! Inspiration can happen at any place at any time. It can be while watching some mindless television show or while picking up a few groceries. 

A novel I am working on now just popped into my head. Now, 190 pages later, Remy is part of larger picture where immortals of all kinds sought refuge in the New World and formed what later became New Orleans…with a twist of course. 

On some occasions, works are dream inspired but honestly I can say dreaming about characters happens more after they have been dancing around in my head for a while. Each author’s inspiration is different. It can be as simple as seeing a sweet kiss exchanged between an unknown elderly couple and wondering how their life might have unfolded or in the passing by of the butcher at the grocery store with his apron covered in blood and the tray full of freshly cut meat!

About the Author: An avid writer, Candace works nearly every day on one of her manuscripts. Though she predominately composes works of horror, she also writes mystery, suspense, and adventure. During the 1990’s she was a featured columnist for PRS in Kansas City. In 2011, Candace was honored by being voted one of the Top 20 Most Prolific Authors by AKG mag.. Her books are an unusual blend of historical places and events, along with fictional and non-fictional characters, which she seamlessly weaves into the story .Originally from south-central Pennsylvania, she currently resides in Kansas City with her husband Todd.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Promise Fulfilled

When I started Promise of Tomorrow, I was not quite sure where the story would take me. As I finished Volume 6: Deliverance, it surprised me how far it went.

From the beginning, I asked "How far would you go to keep your faith?"

I feel like that question had several levels. For the protagonist, Luke Umble, it is answered in two ways. The story developed into something more than "Amish in Space". To me, it is about keeping faith no matter what life hands you. Set 50 years in the future, the Umble family is escaping a dying Earth. However, many of the problems and joys that they find on their adventure are similar to what we face on a daily basis. How do you keep your children safe from bullying? How do you feed your family when things are tight? How does a grown man relate to his father? How does a father relate to his rebellious teen son? Any of this sound familiar?

I wish I could say my little story dispenses wisdom by the bucketful. At least I can say this is my take on it. I believe man (or woman) can only go so far on wits and self-reliance. It is faith that carries us over that last gap. I don't think God is sitting up there on a cloud looking down at the Earth. I believe His power and love crosses the limitless universe. The only time we are away from Him is when we choose to be, when we lose faith. Part of the message of Promise of Tomorrow is that we cannot do it on our own. We need faith especially when we feel like we are in a hopeless situation.

What is waiting for us out there in space? Another Eden, perhaps?

(from the movie Knowing)

Enough pontificating. Besides being inspirational, it is a good sci-fi story, but nothing too heavy. I did my research and hopefully it shows. Underneath it all, however, I am still a fantasy writer, so please don't knock me too hard when my sprockets don't line up with the flux capacitor. Ultimately, this is a story about people which happens to be set on a spaceship.

I would appreciate it if you pick up volume 6 for only 99 cents on Kindle, Nook or Kobo.

Here is the Kindle link:

Also, it would be great to hear from you. Please share your answers to any of the questions above or your thoughts on the story in the comments or on my Facebook page:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Guest Post - TK Harris

Writing Tips for "New" Writers
(In 12 Easy Steps.  Ha!)

Whether you've been writing for years or just getting started, we can all use a little help.  Though I have sold several short stories and finally published a novel, I can't give you the same kind of tips as a pro.  I won't even try!  For that, I think one of the best books I've read is Stephen King's "On Writing".  It’s a weird mash of autobiographical information with a heaping dose of practical advice toward the end.  If you haven't read it, read it.  If you haven't bought it, buy it.  It's worth it.

Ok, now for advice from a newbie published author. 

I tried it all I think.  Outlines, freeform writing, story boarding, classes, articles, books, writing while upside down chanting yoga like prayers…Ok, maybe not that last part.  But I may just have to try it the next time I'm staring at the screen with a "deer in the headlight" expression.  Everyone works differently.  But I really hate when an "advice" piece says something like that, or "just try it until you find something that works for you".  You can.  But, sometimes you want to say "Just tell me already!". 

So, here goes. 

Step 1)  Type up a character sheet on each character. Its ok if they change as you go.  But at least have the basics such as full name, age, hair and eye color, etc.  Do this for every character. 

Step 2) Find a wall, a board, it doesn't matter.  Just find a place where you can put up your character profiles and a bunch of 3 x 5 cards and they can stay.  For months if need be.  (I used my dinning room for awhile and then my bedroom wall).  My suggestion is to use paint safe tape or thumb tacks (because both can be pulled off and reused numerous times – although the tape leaves no marks).   This wall should really be close to where you write, maybe across the room so you have to get up and stretch your legs and rest your eyes.  But not too far away.

Step 3)  Write.  Write until you finish your story or novel or opus magnum.  Don't stop, don't rethink.  Write.  With ONE exception.  When you've finished that paragraph, chapter, or even just your 7 words for the day, grab a 3 x 5 card, a pen, and highlighter(s) and write down the relevant pieces of information (by chapter or scene) that occurred.  For me this was the major points in the each chapter of Phantom Dreams such as who lead what scene, any deaths that occurred, how, and who died.  (You'd be surprised how quickly your dead bodies get mixed up!).  You can use the highlighter to highlight things like when a major turning point occurred.  In my case, I used red to highlight each killing and Kathy's escalating dreams. 
NUMBER the cards sequentially.  Either by chapter or scene and try not to put too much information on these.  These note cards and character profiles are going to do a couple of things for you later on. 

Step 4)  Use the cards as reference points to keep you on track and remembering things like what your character looks like and how old they are.  (Kathy changed age in my first draft 5 times! Obviously I didn't start out with Step 1. :/ )

Step 5)  You've finished your first draft!  Have a glass of wine, beer, or whatever.  Put your manuscript and your cards up.  Celebrate.  And then ignore that manuscript for at least a month.  Two months is better.  And find another project.  Try something new to help refill your creative well.  You're going to need it…
Because this is a blog and I'm supposed to keep it short, if you're interested in receiving the entire article and the next 7 steps, simply contact me at: and go to the contact page OR like my Phantom Dreams page on Facebook and leave a comment requesting the article. 

You can also just stop by to say "hi"! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Rhapsody of Faith

In the latest installment of ONE, Jean E. Lane takes us to a land of castles and kings!

Mark Miller's ONE 2013
Story Nine

All at once, the author delivers a story of both faith and mystery. It becomes obvious that she feels knowing one's self means knowing one's past. Stories of her grandfather and his journey to the United States sent Jean on a trip back in time. I am a little envious that she did something many of us only dream of doing. She went to the land of her ancestors. She visited Czechoslovakia and saw first hand the history of her family and her faith. The author is detailed in her descriptions of events surrounding King Wenceslas, but underneath it, you can feel her longing for the grandeur and spirituality of the land and architecture.

About the book: 100% of the author’s proceeds will be donated to Bridge to Ability Specialized Learning Center, a not-for-profit organization serving the educational and therapeutic needs of fragile children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities. The authors, creator and publisher are in no other way affiliated with this organization. Mark Miller’s One 2013 is a spiritual anthology examining True-Life experiences of Authors and their Faith. As the series evolves expect to discover what it means to have faith, no matter what that faith is and no matter where they live. Remember that we are all part of this One World. In Story Nine, Jean E. Lane travels back in time with a story of family and faith. Inspired by tales from her grandfather, the author traveled around the world. She needed to see firsthand all of the history and mystery that built her beliefs

Available Now on Kindle!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Free Kindle Paperwhite

Starting Weds Oct 2nd and continuing till Thursday Oct 24th, the Helping Hands Press authors will be hosting a “Road Rally” contest.

What does that entail? What is the Grand Prize? How do you participate?

It's easy!
Each week there will be two to three blogs of HHP authors to stop by on the journey to the Grand Prize- a Kindle Paperwhite. Each author will have a word to give you as you stop by and leave a comment on their blog or message them on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Mark's Facebook -
Mark's Twitter - @AuthorMark

There will be 14 words in all to gather to complete one phrase. Along the way there will be other prizes as adventurers on the Road Rally gather points as well as words for doing a variety of things. Each author stop along the Rally will have its own fun stuff to do, see and explore. 

Some of the other authors that are participating in the Road Rally are: Linda Rondeau, Murray Pura, Jen Cudmore, George Michael Loughmueller, Kathy Bruins, Susan J. Reinhardt, J. Smith, Roger Rheinheimer, Amber Schamel, Randall K. Harp, Marsha Hubler, Sarah Price.

Now, to see if you are paying attention - the clue to my secret word is in a post on my FB author page.