Caffeinated Convo: Summer or Winter?

Hey guys! Is it really Wednesday?? Ack! Sorry I’m a day late. We’ve had guests visiting from the east coast and I literally lots track of the days! But their time with us gave me the idea for today’s topic of conversation!

Summer or Winter. Which do you prefer? 

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My view from our pool here in Phoenix.

Here in Phoenix we’ve enjoyed a week of temperatures in the 90’s! Which, of course, means plenty of time spent hiking and by the pool. But my friends on the east coast just got hit with a nasty snow storm and are in the process of digging themselves out of all that white stuff! I know that when it comes to the summer/winter seasons, there remain strong alliances among most people. So I ask you, do you prefer the summer or the winter?

For myself, I’m definitely a summer kind of girl! I can’t get enough of the sun, beach, sand, swimming, anything-summer! I would take temperatures above 100 anytime over temps that fall below freezing. (Which is one reason we came to AZ. *wink, wink*) I don’t mind seeing snow while it falls and creates a pretty landscape. And I don’t even mind going out for a little fun building a snowman or joining a snowball fight. (Fifteen minutes tops for me, though!) But I’d gladly give up the rest of winter and the cold temperatures for year round summer, thankyouverymuch!

What about you? Please leave your comments below and let me know which season you prefer! Let’s chat!

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Photo credit Unsplash Korney Violin

Flash Fiction Friday: Honey

“Heather, did you take the honey?”

The little girl withered.

“It was a full jar,” Momma said.

“Well….” Heather fidgeted with her dress.

Momma crossed her arms. “Did you give it to your imaginary friends again?”

Heather looked down.

“How many times have I told you?” her Momma huffed. “It’s a waste of food! We’ll get rats if you keep shoving food under the floorboards!”

She threw her hands up and stomped away.

Heather knelt and lifted the floorboard. “You okay, Scrimrim?” she said to her Brownie friend.

The fairy nodded and smiled, then took another lick of his honey.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo Credit Unsplash by Amelia Bartlett

Cover Reveal: SPARK by J.M. Hackman

Hey guys! I’m super excited to be part of author J.M. Hackman’s cover reveal for her new book, Spark! I’ve read a portion of this and can already say I can’t wait to read the whole thing! This is one YA fantasy novel you won’t want to miss!

And check out this amazing cover! Isn’t it gorgeous? May can’t come soon enough! Be sure to mark your calendar to grab this fantastic new YA series.

Spark: The Firebrand Chronicles, Book One

by J.M. Hackman

Release Date: May 16, 2017
L2L2 Publishing, LLC

Spark_cover_med_resSynopsis:

Brenna James wants three things for her sixteenth birthday: to find her history notes before the test, to have her mother return from her business trip, and to stop creating fire with her bare hands. Yeah, that’s so not happening. Unfortunately.

When Brenna learns her mother is missing in an alternate reality called Linneah, she travels through a portal to find her. Against her will. Who knew portals even existed? But Brenna’s arrival in Linneah begins the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, including a royal murder and the theft of Linneah’s most powerful relic: the Sacred Veil. Hold up. Can everything just slow down for a sec?

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Guest Post: 8 Ways to Find Brilliant Story Ideas by Kellie M. Parker

Hello, readers of Caffeinated Fiction! I’m delighted to join you here today. One of the things people often ask me when they find out I’m a writer is, “How do you come up with your story ideas?”

Great question! I’ve put together a list of 8 different techniques I’ve used to find inspiration for my stories. Hopefully they’ll help you too!

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Photo credit PEXELS

  1. Asking “What if?” questions

The world is full of interesting possibilities when you start asking questions, and you can use this tactic to look for ideas wherever and whenever you have time to think.

What if the magnetic poles suddenly reversed? What if everyone born in 1999 had superpowers? What if a future version of you shows up in a time machine in your living room?

There are so many things in life we take for granted, like gravity and running water and the weather. Turn some of those things upside-down and see what happens. Once you start asking questions, you never know where your imagination will take you! Continue reading

Caffeinated Convo: Early Bird or Night Owl?

Ahhh, the age-old question: Are you an early bird or a night owl? Google this topic and you’ll find a plethora of posts defending why one is better than the other, or which great historical figures fell into what category. But despite what the media might lead you to believe, there has never really been one correct answer when it comes to our creativity, right? Whether you are more productive as an early bird or as a night owl depends entirely on you as an individual. You just need to figure out which category you fall into and roll with it!

Where do I land? Well, if you’d asked me that fifteen years ago, the answer would’ve been absolutely, undeniably, whole-heartedly a night owl! For most of my life, the bulk of my creative inspiration always seemed to hit sometime around the midnight hour. I had no problem staying awake into the wee-hours of the morning if the creativity was flowing. Since my children have been born? Not so much. I’ll never know if it was all those nights I stayed awake against my will (as a baby wailed her lungs out) or if my body just decided it needed a change. But all I ever feel after the 10pm timeframe is tired and brain dead. Zombie-time! Furthermore, I was shocked to discover a few years ago that I actually work amazingly well in the early morning! (And by this I mean 6am-ish. I’m not that much of a crazy-person!) Give me 30-60 minutes before breakfast and I can have 1000-1500 words written, no problem. Boo ya! Apparently, I’m an “early bird writer”. 

What about you? Do you think best early in the morning or does the dark of night work for you? I’d love to hear the different routines you have that keeps your creativity flowing! Please leave a comment below! 

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Photo credit Unsplash Korney Violin

The Many Worlds of Sci-fi and Fantasy

My contribution to the AlmostAnAuthor website for March has been posted! The subject for this month: The Many Worlds of Sci-fi and Fantasy. Where do the characters of your story live? Check out the post to see!

Happy writing, friends!

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Photo credit Unsplash by NASA

Flash Fiction Friday: The Comic Book

Harold was second in line.

He’d fought hard to be the first one out of school, in a race to the comic book store to be there for the three o’clock release of the latest issue of Aardvark Boy. This was the big one. The one where he would learn the fate of Aardvark Boy’s sidekick, Sloth Girl! Had the sinister Roach Man succeeded in killing her? Blood pounded through Harold’s veins as he bounced on his toes. He’d waited a full month for this day!

The person ahead in line was Rob Lambert. A seventh-grader, he was one year behind Harold in school. The kid was weird. Like, really weird. Harold hadn’t seen him with many friends, but that didn’t come as a surprise. Mostly Rob could be seen sitting with his nose in a book–usually a comic–and he often talked to himself. Far too much to be considered normal.

The bell over the door rang and a loud holler drew the attention of everyone in line, which already wrapped around the store. A group of five boys entered, each with a cocky grin in place as they sauntered over to Rob.

Harold cringed. These guys were bad news. They were from his class and pretty much ruled the school. The teachers thought the boys were so great, and all the girls fell at their feet. Why? Harold had no clue. They were just a bunch of jerks.

“Hey, Rob-eee,” one of them said. “Mind if we jump in line?”

“Um…erm.” Rob visibly shook and sweat appeared along his hairline. “S-sure.”

Harold eyes went wide. No! That’s totally not fair! 

“Thanks, little guy.” The jerk patted Rob on the shoulder like he was a child. The group laughed.

Fire burned inside Harold’s chest. He wanted to say something, to tell those kids where they could go and just how to do it. But starting a fight and getting kicked out of his favorite comic store wasn’t a good idea. He shoved his pride back down and simmered.

The sales clerk appeared from behind a red curtain that led to the back, and stepped up to the cash register. Harold’s heart skipped a beat. This was it!

“Folks,” the clerk said. “I have some disappointing news. We only got a few copies of Aardvark Boy. The distributor promised a full shipment on Wednesday. They’ve sent along free copies of another comic in reparation.”

Harold’s heart sank. No big deal. He was seventh in line. Surely the company had sent at least ten copies, right?

The five jerks got their copies and gave a hoot as they left the store. Rob stepped up and grabbed his issue of Aardvark Boy. Then it was Harold’s turn.

“Sorry son. That’s all I’ve got. Here’s a brand new comic, Bubblegum Girl.

Harold grumbled. Figures. 

Outside he flipped open the front cover. Something was stuck tight between the crease. What…? He pulled. An envelope with writing on it.

“Your reward for patience and kindness. Pass it on.” 

Inside was a crisp fifty dollar bill. His jaw dropped. He glanced around. Everyone else read their comic but no one had gotten an envelope. He didn’t deserve this at all!

An idea formed in his mind. “Hey! Rob!” He jogged to catch up to the boy. “Mind if I take you out for ice cream?”

Rob’s face lit up. “Sure! We can read Aardvark Boy together, then!”

Harold smiled. He wouldn’t have to wait until Wednesday, after all.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo credit Unsplash by Mitch Rosen

Caffeinated Speculation: Jurassic Park or Jurassic World?

This week I grabbed my daughters and headed to the local Renaissance Faire here in AZ. We stumbled upon a new booth I’d never seen before–the Medieval Mapmaker. What caught my eye was a display of the map of Middle Earth. After approaching the booth I discovered an array of every fantasy map you could desire! From Star Wars to Equestria to The Princess Bride. One in particular stood out–the original Jurassic Park! Of course we snatched it up (as seen here), because who doesn’t want a map of the original JP? Amiright?

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Isn’t she a beaut?

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ACFW New Releases–March 2017

Here it is! This month’s list of new releases from the ACFW community. Lots of fun books from Romance to Fantasy! Check them out!

 

March 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:reunion-at-crane-lake
Reunion at Crane Lake
by Robin Bayne — Colt’s memory is returning after the accident that ended his career. Now he wants to take over his family’s inn, but he’ll have to partner with his former fiancée to be able to afford it. He’ll need forgiveness to make that happen. Tia’s goal is clear: to return the inn to its former grandeur. And she’ll even work with Colt to do so. But like the inn, their relationship needs a lot of work. He broke her heart…can she ever trust him again? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

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Hope
by Fay Lamb — She’s a starving artist facing a serious illness; he’s the doctor who’s her only hope of survival. If only she hadn’t caused his sister to die. (Contemporary Romance from Write Integrity Press)

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Muffins & Moonbeams
by Elizabeth Maddrey — Malachi Baxter is happy to hide in the background and manage the business-end of the family bakery. Continue reading

Caffeinated Convo: Cookie Dough – Raw or Baked?

Okay. I have no idea why I chose this topic because I’m already feeling stressed that I have to choose between the two! But I was sitting here trying to think of a topic for our convo this week and I couldn’t get chocolate chip cookies out of my head! Ack! Of all the cookies in the world, these are truly my soft spot. (*Pun absolutely intended*)

Cookie Dough: Raw or Baked?

So, let’s assume that the raw cookie dough I’m referring to does not have eggs, as I know the first thing any responsible person will tell me is, I shouldn’t be eating anything with raw eggs! (Hey, what can I say? I live on the wild side. *wink*) Without squabbling over the type of cookie dough (just choose your favorite), do you prefer to eat it raw or baked?

I will admit, this is a tough one for me, because eating raw cookie dough runs a tight race with cookies just out of the oven–when they’re all soft and gooey? Agh. My mouth is watering already. BUT since I’m a meany and I’ve said it must be one or the other, my choice would be raw! There I said it!

What about you? Do you prefer to skip the time spent baking and just eat it right out of the bowl? Or cook them through so you have plenty for later? Please leave your comments below! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Photo credit Unsplash Korney Violin