Thursday, January 31, 2008

Simple Conservation Habits

Inspired by the Romance Divas board, here are thirteen simple habits you can form to conserve water, energy and the environment...

Thirteen Ways to Make a Difference from Gwen

1. Use rags and sponges instead of paper to clean up messes.
(Keep them sanitary by laundering rags and washing sponges in the dishwasher.)

2. Wait for a full load before doing laundry or running the dishwasher.

3. Turn off TVs, radios, and lamps in rooms you're not using.

4. Use a compost pile instead of the garbage disposal.

5. Don't drive somewhere within walking distance. (You'll get exercise too!)

6. Don't leave the water running when brushing your teeth or washing your face or hands.

7. Put an extra blanket on your bed and turn the heat down.

8. Put outside lights on a timer.

9. Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs.

10. Turn the heat/AC down when you're not home.

11. Take a re-usable cup to your favorite coffee shop.

12. Use a re-usable Nalgene or similar bottle for water.

13. Last, but most importantly, recycle.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Leave your link in a comment, and I'll link back to you here:

Writer's Retreat

I haven't blogged much at all this week, because I've been busy setting up my new forum! It's called Writer's Retreat and it is a private writing group, with a public section of the board.

So far, it's a success. It's a lot of work, but I have some great mods helping me out and lots of enthusiastic members (13 so far!!!). I'm looking to grow the group to about twenty active writers, and it's open to all experience levels and goal sets - as long as they are friendly, supportive, and actively participate in group activities, etc.

Writer's Retreat Forum

Shout out to Jean, Eden and Dawn - you ladies are awesome!!! Thank you so much!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lovin' the Angst

Thought I would give this 'Thursday Thirteen' a spin, so below are thirteen angsty love songs I can't do without...

Thirteen Must-Have Tunes from Gwen

1. Bring Me To Life - Evanescence
2. Come Undone - Duran Duran
3. Everybody Hurts - REM
4. Fallen - Sarah McLachlan
5. Heaven - Bryan Adams
6. Here Without You - 3 Doors Down
7. It's Been Awhile - Staind
8. Make This Go On Forever - Snow Patrol
9. Only When I Lose Myself - Depeche Mode
10. Right Here Waiting - Richard Marx
11. Waiting for a Girl Like You - Foreigner
12. With our Without You - U2
13. You and Me - Lifehouse

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Leave your link in a comment, and I'll link back to you here:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

'On the Run' Promo for St. Jude's

Just helping out a fellow Diva - all the proceeds of this book go to St. Jude's Hospital for Children - which is an awesome organization.

On the Run
by Judith Rochelle
PRINT ISBN 1-60154-214-3
(240 pages) Sensual

When Robin Fleming witnessed the murder of her sister, Jamie, her only thought is to grab her nephew and run, from her vicious brother-in-law. Running and hiding, covering their tracks, they eventually settle in Memphis to begin a new life. Robin, now Laura, though still grieving for her sister, is determined to make a good life for her nephew. Then illness hits Andy, and while Laura is dealing with that crisis, bad luck and unfortunate circumstances bring all the players together again and endanger everyone’s lives. Can Dr. Gage Hollander, who has fallen in love with Laura, find a way to save them?

Available now from The Wild Rose Press....ALL Proceeds going to ST. JUDE'S CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL

From Rhonda Penders, Editor-in-Chief, The Wild Rose Press:

Judith Rochelle, is one of our multipublished authors at The Wild Rose Press. In late summer, 2007 I approached her with an idea of a project that would enable RJ and me to give something back for all the wonderful things that had happened to us since we opened in May 2006. I wanted to find an organization that I felt everyone, everywhere would care about and really embrace. While many qualified, the one that kept coming back to my mind was St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

A few days later, Judith created a synopsis and a proposal for a book incorporating romance, suspense and St. Jude's. It took my breath away at what she'd come up with. Judith wrote the book, RJ and I edited it, and Kim Mendoza did the beautiful cover. None of us, including the publishing company, will receive any compensation; every penny will go to St. Jude's. Children's Hospital.

The result of this, is the amazing Crimson Rose book called "On the Run" by Judith Rochelle.
The book will be offered in both print and electronic format. The amount raised will be announced on our web site twice a year. The first report to be posted at the end of June 2008.

If you've purchased this book, thank you for your contribution to St. Jude's, if you haven't purchased it yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. The download is $5.00 and will go into a special fund to be donated to St. Jude's twice a year.

I've been very very blessed to have not only three very healthy sons, but cousins and nephews and nieces and children in my life who have been healthy and happy and strong. Sometimes we all have to take a reality check and realize that there are families out there truly suffering due to their children's long term illnesses. Maybe some of these children are in your family and circle of friends. St. Jude's is an amazing hospital in Memphis, TN that supports and helps families and children of long term illnesses.

If you would like more information on this project, you may contact Rhonda Penders at rpenders@thewildros To learn more about the author, please visit To see the amazing work St. Jude's does, please visit their web site at

Thank you for your support of this important project.

Rhonda Penders

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Full Moon

It's the full moon today, and I was lacking any pertinent news for the blog, so, I did a bit of digging (Wiki: Full Moon, Lycanthropy, Blue Moon).

In wiccan/druid tradition, the full moon is an esbat, a minor holiday. It is only one cycle of the moon, but it generally affiliated with the mother Goddess. It's the time when she is the most prominent and at the height of her power. Depending on your tradition, it might be a time to bring magic workings of the month to a final culmination. It is a time to work personal spells, etc., where the high holidays (sabbats) are for working magic for the Gods.

The moon operates on a 28 (29.531) day cycle. There are 12 (sometimes 13, if there's a a Blue Moon) in a a calendar year. The moon reaches it's fullest point around day 15 of its cycle. At that point, it is directly on the opposite side of earth as the sun, aligning the three is as close to a straight line as they come. The moon looks 'full' for about three days.

Though the links remain elusive, many cultures associate the full moon with a time of heightened power, either of deities, or of other forces. The term lunatic is based off the Latin word for moon, luna. Many studies have been done to try to establish the connection between the full moon and increased instances of insomnia, insanity, aggression of animals, etc. The urban myths of more murders and more babies being born at the full moon seem to be linked to this, though there's no conclusive data to be found. And of course, the myth of lycanthropy, or the werewolf - is rooted in this folklore.

There are several different names for the Full Moon, in several cultures. The Old English names are listed below. Also note that a Blue Moon has come to mean the 2nd full moon in a calendar month, where it used to be the 3rd full moon in any season that had four (happens every two to three years).

Jan: Old Moon
Feb: Wolf Moon
Mar: Lenten Moon
Apr: Egg Moon
May: Milk Moon
Jun: Flower Moon
Jul: Hay Moon
Aug: Grain Moon
Sep: Fruit Moon
Oct: Harvest Moon
Nov: Hunter's Moon
Dec: Oak Moon

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Thursday, January 17, 2008


I stumbled upon the Flash Fiction Carnival 2008, listed on Absolute Write, and thought, "What the hey?" It's a way to prod the muse without the pressure of publishing looming over me. The prompt this time around was NEW, and I bring you . . . fluff.


The stranger in her bed was about a hundred and eighty pounds of solid muscle, thankfully fully clothed. Other than a vague memory of promising him a kiss at midnight, Sybil had no idea who he was. He was cute, though, in a way-too-good-for-her frat boy sort of way. She was pretty sure he’d take one look at her sober, and beam directly back to planet Cool. They always did. Aside from co-hosting the occasional rockin’ beer-bash, Sybil was a social outcast. She had half a mind to climb back under the covers, but thought better of it. Still, those few precious seconds between sleep and waking, tucked snuggly in his arms had been . . . sweet.

She found Craig and Ellen in the kitchen, performing their normal post-party ritual. To the uneducated eye, it looked a little like two blind sailors tilting back and forth through a ship’s galley dumping random items into a large bowl. But Sybil smiled as she watched them, reaching over and under and past each other in a long-practiced dance. Some things never changed – and after the year she’d had, Sybil liked that idea. The familiarity of seeing her roommates clean up and make breakfast after an all-night thrasher felt like home.

“Syb, is your friend staying for pancakes, or what?” Craig asked, cracking eggs one handed and tossing the shells in the sink.

Sybil wrinkled her nose at him as she peeked over the counter. “I guess I’ll go ask him,” she answered, dipping her finger into the batter before huffing back down the hallway.

She kicked her bedroom door open and let it fling into the nightstand, but the occupant of her bed didn’t flinch. Sybil opened the blinds, bathing the room in hazy late-morning sun, to no avail. She finally sighed, reached down, and poked his shoulder. He stirred awake, blearily blinking his eyes at his surroundings. Sybil leaned against the door with her hands pressed behind her as his gaze finally settled on her.

“Morning, Sybil,” he smiled, sitting up.

“Yeah, hi,” she answered blandly. An awkward silence followed, where he looked at her expectantly and she looked everywhere but at her anonymous man-candy guest, a flush steadily crawling up her neck.

“You don’t remember my name, do you?” he sat up, chuckling softly.

“Breakfast?” she asked, ignoring his question.

“Sounds great,” frat-boy answered, as he stood up and stretched. He shuffled past her with an ironic smile, leaving Sybil scowling at his back and mentally fumbling through her memories of the night before.

Breakfast was strange. Tom introduced himself to Craig and Ellen, and then socialized as if he’d been invited for tea. Sybil wondered what was really up with his Mr. Roger’s act. She made every attempt at insinuating her suspicion, to which Tom’s only response was a serene smile. Craig and Ellen were thoroughly charmed, especially when he offered to clear the table.

“No, really. That’s okay - you can go,” Sybil said, grabbing a stack of plates from his hands.

“I don’t mind,” was all he replied.

The clean up went quickly, and Craig and Ellen were ecstatic at Tom’s generous help, extending an open-ended invitation for him to return any time, even as Sybil glared at them from behind his back. Her roommates only smiled and winked, retreating to their rooms. Left alone with her auspicious houseguest, Sybil fidgeted as he studied her. The soft challenge in his eyes was unnerving.

“So,” she said, clearing her throat.

“You owe me a kiss,” Tom said without preamble.

“What?” Sybil asked, her eyes going wide.

“Last night, you promised me a kiss, and you never paid up,” he answered, stalking towards her.

“I-, uh-, you-, remember that?” She stepped back, then ran into the wall as he advanced.

“That’s why I stayed,” he nodded. “I wanted you to be sober, to remember it.” The warmth of his body occupying her personal space sent her heart racing away, and she looked at his wide, smiling mouth in a whole new threatening light as he hovered over her.

“Why?” she asked in a breathy whisper, her brows knit together in anxious confusion. Why was this gorgeous man even still in her house? Was he just playing with her? Some sort of twisted ‘make out with the nerd’ joke? A bet?

“It’s the first kiss of the New Year. It should be memorable, don’t you think?” he asked, caressing her cheek with the back of his hand.

Sybil frowned harder to cover her shiver of anticipation. “Why me?” she clarified.

“You intrigue me,” he breathed into her mouth.

She looked up at him, startled, holding her breath. It’s not that she hadn’t been there before. Guys had put moves on her plenty of times – it had just never worked so well. Sybil could feel all of her careful defenses melting away. She stared into Tom’s eyes, wondering if, for once, it could be the real deal. His gaze was open and honest meeting hers. And though she could feel the invitation in his closeness, it was just that – inviting, not demanding. If she were honest, he intrigued her too – even if it was mostly wondering how he could possibly want her. Then she thought, what the heck? It was a New Year, right? New opportunities. New possibilities. And if she dared, new hopes. Some things never changed, but maybe, just maybe, some things did. She wrapped her arms around Tom’s neck, and as his lips sank in to hers, Sybil decided that new was definitely a good thing, and so was memorable.


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I got my very first rejection letter yesterday - just a form email reply: Thanks for submitting, we've reviewed it and decided it's not for us. Please consider submitting something else in the future.

Blah. I'm not surprised, per se - but even though the realist in me told the rest of me that this was coming, the confirmation still squashes that small sliver of hopeful optimism we all hold in reserve, just in case we get lucky. I mean, you have to believe it's possible, otherwise, what's the point?

The good news - the realist says: "Don't worry about that! That's gonna happen! Pick up and move on! Keep writing - that's the ticket. Just. Keep. Writing."

So, that's what I'm gonna do. I would be doing it anyway - I can't stop. I love it. I STILL love it, even if the rejections pour in and threaten to bury me, I'm doing what I love. At some point, that will shine through and someone will see it. Someday. I can't expect it to come easy. Nothing worth pursuing ever does. Right? *Realist nods*

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Alpha Beta to the Rescue!

Anyone familiar with my writing over the past year knows that I'm heavily reliant on The ABC - my first reader, idea-bouncer and pro-bono editor. Along with the new year came my new venture towards the goal of getting published and a slight shift. She said it was time for me to leave the nest. *grumbles*

While I know she's right, and despite the fact that she claims she feels useless due to the amount I've grown as a writer - she still proves her worth again and again - be it a firm kick in the backside, encouragement (she's the first and often the only person that ever believed I could really make it . . . priceless) or simply a second pair of eyes.

I mention it again, because she, with practically no effort, pointed out the problem and the solution to the story snafoo I was whining about earlier. Thanks to her, I was able to re-arrange and ease off of my developing plot for Cloak of Knight and tie it up nicely with a HFN ending. I sent it off yesterday, and we'll see what comes of it.

So, here's a shout out to The ABC - still worth her weight in gold (despite her arguments)!! And also - a thanks to Noonycat for the help with my cover letter.

My submission calendar is blank for the coming weeks, but I'm sure I'll start cooking something up soon. Lots of ideas . . .

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Checking In . . .

I am rapidly approaching another deadline and find myself tottering back and forth on what to do. I started a piece for Samhain Publishing, for the psychic powers submission request, which wants a manuscript up to 30K words. Sounds pretty easy - right?

It started out that way. I picked 2 different ideas from my 'Ideas' file, combined them with another ROI (randomly occurring idea) and voila! I had everything for a great plot. I picked my names, developed the world/mythology (mostly in my head) and started writing. I don't know why, but it came out in the first person. It's probably still easiest for me to write from that point of view, since that is where most of my experience lies. It also made the main character, Alex come to life very quickly - with a unique voice. I'm having fun with it. A little too much fun. As always, I'm getting carried away, and this 30K words is growing into a novel.

I think I will do my best to trim it down, maybe even drop a subplot or two and give it a HFN ending and submit it. Since my primary goal at this phase is to gain readership by getting my name out there (i.e. get published) it seems a waste to let any call for submissions pass me by. Though I will keep the expanded version of the story - you never know.

I'm excited to get started on my novel though - and the submissions slow down after January, giving me time to do just that while I'm waiting to hear back. The best news so far is that I appear to be just as prolific as ever. I've written about 60K words of good quality stuff in the last month and a half, and outlined a novel series.

And now for a random laugh, when all else fails, just pick yourself up and . . .

Sunday, January 6, 2008


I got news back from Ellora's Cave that my submission of His Heart's Desire has passed the first review and is on it's way to sit on an acquiring editor's desk for who knows how long.

I know this doesn't sound like exciting news, but I'm completely happy to have dodged the *slush pile* on my first attempt. In and of itself, this is an accomplishment, I've been told. We'll see how the rest go.

I'm currently 21K words into Cloak of Knight which will be submitted to Samhain. I'm running out of word space though, and haven't gotten the main characters into bed yet. *sigh*

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Website (Unofficially) Launched!!

I have yet to send out an announcement, and I'm still tweaking the background and some of the content, but my website is officially up!!

AND it comes up as the number one Google find for "Gwen Mitchell Fiction" ... how cool is that? I'll have to work harder to get it up there for searches for "Gwen Mitchell" ... It's currently on page three.

But there it is - and my first two novellas have been submitted to publishers too. I'm working against a deadline for my third piece, working title "Cloak of Darkness". It's for Samhain, and it's due Jan. 13th. EEK!

I also made some pretty link banners for the site:

And I figured out how to customize my web browser icon. Lot's of new discoveries, and even though the site isn't EVERYTHING I'd hoped for - it will definitely suit for now. My next goal is to get some more writing under my belt and up - and some of my own cover art, etc. to give visuals for my stories.

Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!! 2008 - here I come!

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