Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Backworlds Series by M. Pax

Have I got a treat for you! The second book in M.Pax's THE BACKWORLDS series is here.

Calling all sci-fi fans especially Browncoats (Firefly loyalists, of which I am one) and Star Wars nuts (Guilty as charged). This is a series for you. The main character Craze is from the same delicious mold as Captain Malcolm Reynolds and Han Solo. Need I say more? Indulge in M.Pax's universe.

The sequel to The Backworlds is now available. Craze and his friends continue their adventures in Stopover at the Backworlds’ Edge. See what role chocolate plays in the galaxy this time. 

   The interstellar portal opens, bringing in a ship that should no longer exist. A battleship spoiling for a fight, yet the war with Earth ended two generations ago. The vessel drops off a Water-breather, a type of Backworlder thought to be extinct. She claims one of Craze’s friends is a traitor who summoned the enemy to Pardeep Station. A betrayal worse than his father’s, if Craze lives to worry about it. 

Available for all ereaders from:

iTunes and Kobo will be available shortly.

If you haven’t read The Backworlds yet, it’s available as a free read from many outlets. See HERE for links. []
Inspiring the words M. Pax writes, Mary spends her summers as a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory in stunning Central Oregon where she lives with the husband unit and two loving cats. She write science fiction mostly and has a slight obsession with Jane Austen. Mary blogs at

In other news:
The Kindle version of JOURNEYS OF WONDER, Volume 1, is available for free download until Tuesday, July 24th at midnight from Amazon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Welcome to Angela Ackerman

I am honored to have the amazing Angela Ackerman as a guest today. Angela and Becca Puglisi have given the writing community a treasure, The Emotion Thesaurus. It's a master class on show don't tell. 

Their blog The Bookshelf Muse is also one of the best writing resources in Bloglandia.

Angela indulged my Lord of the Rings obsession to answer the following question: 

If you were Frodo and had to bring the one ring to Mordor, who would your 5 companions from literature be and which character trait would each represent? 

Angela:  First off, BEST QUESTION EVER. 

Leslie: Ah, shucks ma'am, thanks.

AngelaSecond, this really made me think about what character traits the original companions embodied. Each had a special intrinsic quality that added to a greater whole, and because of this, the venture succeeded. So, with that in mind, here’s who would be on my Dream Team of Five:

Roland of Gilead (Stephen King’s The Dark Tower). This Gunslinger is tough--stringy tough, skilled and emotionally hardened, but the trait he embodies most is tenaciousness. Roland never gave up on his quest to find the Dark Tower, not when loved ones died, nor when some crazy-ass giant lobster ate his fingers off, or even when his reality split and caused his own mind to fracture. No matter what life threw at him, Roland kept going.

Astrophil (Marie Rutkoski’s The Cabinet of Wonders). Now while Astro might be only a tin spider who hides in the main character Petra’s hair, he is wise and resourceful. Most of all, he is incredibly loyal. On a trip to Mordor, I’d need someone who would stick by me no matter what. Besides, who wouldn’t want a tin spider to come along?

Katniss Everdeen (Susanne Collins’ The Hunger Games). I’m sure no one is shocked to see Katniss on my list. She’s dedicated, selfless and has great instincts. Most of all, she is a born hunter and skilled in adverse environments. Taking on the Hunger Games arena is no easy feat, and perfect training ground for Mordor.

Mat Cauthon (Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time). Matrim is a trickster, gambler and trouble loving character, adding levity in a dark time as the seals on the Dark One’s prison begin to break. Always in trouble of one sort or another, but loyal to the core, Mat’s antics cost him part of his memories, replacing what is lost with a battle-hardened warrior, transforming him into a formidable strategist and unparalleled leader. These are all great qualities, but it is Mat’s cleverness that earns him a seat on the bus to Mount Doom.

Merlin (too many sources to name). No matter what fiction piece he featured in, Merlin was an advisor, a wieldier of  magic, and scholar and protector of the people. One quality stands out more than any other however, and that is wisdom. To successfully infiltrate Mordor and destroy the ring, wisdom is key.
So, the ideal traits I’ve gathered for this journey are tenacious, loyalty, skill, cleverness and wisdom

Who would be on your Team Mordor? Would you choose to feature the same traits, or different ones? Tell me about it in the comments!

What fun--thanks Leslie for asking me to do such a unique post!

No, no thank YOU, Angela for hanging out and assembling a kickin' team. Frodo doesn't know what he is missing.

Free download of the Kindle version of 
until Tuesday night

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Thank you so much, C.LeeMcKenzie, author and blogger extraordinaire over at The Write Game blog, for passing on positive vibes with the following awards. Look for her new middle grade novel, Alligators Overhead.

The task for this award is to name your five favorite books. I can't, I just can't. It's like picking a favorite child. 

I'm an audiobook nut, so I'll pick five YA audiobooks that kept the ear buds firmly planted in my noggin.

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
2. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
3. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
4. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
5. The Chaos Walking Trilogy: The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

Don't you just love anything with the word fabulous in it?

Fabulous Moments:
1. Applauding as my daughter graduated with a BA in English from UC Irvine - Yes, another writer has entered the ranks
2. Watching my son on stage - so talented
3. Sitting on the beach from sunset until the stars come out
4. The first day I meet a new class of fifth graders
5. Reconnecting with a friend I thought I'd never see again

Five Things I Love:
1. Writing by the fire, wearing fuzzy socks
2. Snuggling with all three cats at once
3. Road trips
4. A story that moves me to tears
5. Watching my students sneak-read a book they can't put down in class 

Five Things I Dislike:
1. Dream stealers
2. Meaness
3. Joss Whedon killing off characters I love
4. Narrow, inflexible minds
5. Double dippers at a party

I'm going off book here for passing on these awards. Instead of naming names, I award anyone who:

1. Listens to audiobooks
2. Has met one of their favorite authors in person
3. Married their childhood sweetheart
4. Has a child who is pursuing a life in the arts
5. Is going to Comic Con in San Diego this month

Please let us know as you pick up an award so we can click your link and visit your blog.
I'd can't wait to hear your stories.

Giveaway over at Journeys of Wonder this week.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Writer's Biggest Mistake

What is a writer's biggest mistake? 
Adverbs? Too many adjectives? Dialogue tags? Saggy middles?
No, no, no, and no.

I believe the biggest blunder we commit as writers is allowing our possibilities to dwindle. 

We all fall into funks of self-doubt and insecurity now and then. That's part and parcel of a creative life. Sometimes when we're discouraged we might distance ourselves from our creative process and products. We stop writing, revising, querying, blogging, or going to conferences/workshops.

In Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Betty Edwards describes a "crisis period" in the artistic development of a child where their drawing has been misinterpreted or criticized and the hurt from that judgment can make the child stop drawing altogether.  

Anyone who has been rejected by an agent, editor, lost a contest, or had a less than flattering critique can relate to that moment where you want to give up to avoid any more hurt.

Withdrawal from the creative process zaps the soul of an artist. Worse than that, if you pull away from writing when successes arent' stacking up, you rob yourself of possibilities. No querying - no requests for your work. No revising and writing - no new product to send out. No blogging or conference/workshop attending - no sense of community and support.

Don't make the mistake of letting your possibilities drain away. I've fallen into that trap and it can be tricky to pull yourself out. Honor your creativity and don't give up your passion because you were bonked on the head by subjectivity. 

In honor of the 4th of July, I leave you with the immortal words of Katy Perry.

Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go, oh, oh, oh
As you shoot across the sky

Here are two new possibilities for you to grab:

An agent pitch contest with Claire Anderson-Wheeler of Anderson Literary Management on the Writerly Rejects blog – July 9th

A editor editor pitch contest with Entangled Publishing Pitch Contest on Brenda Drake’s blog – July 16th

 photo credit