Friday, July 24, 2015

Calling All Writers! An Invitation to Guest Post in October

I know. It's still July and months away from the season of All Hallow's Eve. But it's never too early to think of ways to celebrate my favorite time of year.

I was watching "Ghost Hunters" with my daughter the other day. My mind was wandering, as it often does, to all things writing and blogging (and writing ;-), and I had an idea. 
Why not devote my blog for the entire month of October to ghost stories? 
I have only a few ghost stories of my own and not nearly enough to fill a whole month. That's where you come in.
Calling all writers!
Do you have a story of a personal encounter with the paranormal? Or a time you were scared witless? A particularly spooky Halloween? Have you written a book, short story or poem about the macabre? Or would you like to share your love of a story written by someone else that fits with the spooky season?

If so, I invite you to write a blog post about it! Anything goes as long as it fits the theme of Halloween. 

My blog space in October (every Tues, Wed and Thurs) will be devoted to guest writers. Would you like to be one of them?

YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE A HORROR AUTHOR! I'm not. It doesn't matter what genre you write, all are welcome.*

If you have a post that fits the theme, I'd love to host you. Here are the details:

1. A guest post between 250-500 words with at least one photo or illustration (and you must have the rights to use said photo or illustration).

2. Your social media links and website link (and email if you'd like to share that on the blog).

3. If you'd like to promote a book, links to where readers can find your book (if it's available on Amazon, I will also put on an affiliate link). If you're promoting a book, a BRIEF description (i.e. one or two sentences).

4. IMPORTANT - an author photo and bio.

5. Last but not least, let's add a massive giveaway for readers. If you have a back list book that you'd like to add to the giveaway, let me know and send me a Smashwords coupon code (for a free copy) for the book when you send your materials. The grand prize winner of the October giveaway will receive all the coupons for all the books donated.*

*PLEASE NOTE that my blog is for ages 13 and up, so if you write erotica, I'm sorry but I won't be able to include your book in the giveaway. You can still write a post and promote your work so long as the post and any art/photos/covers are appropriate for all ages.

This is a great opportunity to cross-promote for all the authors participating.

I must receive all materials for your post AT LEAST ONE WEEK BEFORE your scheduled time. This is very important as I have several travel dates in October so will need to have materials well in advance of posting date to ensure that they are up on time. 

Last caveat, I reserve the right not to post a submission if it does not meet the requirements or is, in my sole opinion, not of the calibre of post that I typically accept. If I get your submission and feel that it needs work AND you've sent it in a timely manner, I'll let you know that I can't post it as is and give you an opportunity to revise. ;-)

So what are you waiting for? Sign up Here!

P.S. If you think of a cool name for the month-long event, let me know :-)

SciFi Friday: NASA Introduces us to our Cousin - Kepler 452b

An artist concept of Kepler 452b.
T.Pyle/Jet Propulsion Lab/NASA
Thursday (July 23, 2015), NASA announced it has found a "cousin" to our planet. Named Kepler 452b (a very unappealing appellation), the newly discovered planet is approximately 1400 light years away in the Cygnus constellation. Okay, for Ancient Aliens and Chariots of the Gods fans, it's no mystery why the guys and gals at NASA are pointing their telescopes in that direction. Several ancient civilizations believed that the "gods" came from Cygnus. Maybe they knew something that we're only now finding out?

NASA says that 452b has a 385 day orbit - a long year, but not ridiculously long (or overly short) as some planets they've found. And most importantly for the possibility of harboring life, 452b orbits a star that is similar to our sun and it sits in the so-called "Goldilocks" zone, likely not so cold that all water would be ice but no so hot as to burn it all away.

If you evolved on 452b, you'd likely be a strong and stocky sort. The gravity is estimated at twice that as on Earth. If we were able to beam there right now, we'd likely feel like we'd gained a lot of weight. No leaping for joy and frolicking in near weightlessness.

From both a science and a science fiction standpoint, it's also promising that the startsystem in which this planet sits is likely about 1.5 billion years older than our solar system. That means that there has been plenty of time for life to evolve (but the system isn't so old that the star has used up its fuel).

It's a very exciting find for NASA, the Kepler team and all of us who keep our eyes to the heavens. I wonder how many stories in the future will be set on this distant planet, our Earth's cousin? Surely we can come up with a better name for it!

What do you think we should name this new planet?

You can read the NYTimes article here and see more illustrations and news on NASA's Kepler website here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Writer Wednesday: Vote in a Poll for the Best Author Logo


I've needed a logo for my author brand for quite some time. Now that I'm going to more and more events, I find that I need a logo often to put on all kinds of things (think buttons, stickers, bags and of course business cards).

There's an awesome site called 99Designs where anyone can put out a call to designers from around the world to get design work done for darn near anything. I decided to run a contest on the site for an author logo for the Natalie Wright, Author brand. The designers produced some intriguing designs. I narrowed it down to six finalists but now I have to choose one winner. I NEED YOUR HELP!

Which logo catches your eye the most? Which would you like to see stamped on things, emblazoned on T-shirts, put on a business card, stickers and other such stuff?

My mission to the designers was to: "Create a creative, kick-ass log for an author of creative, kick-ass sci fi and fantasy fiction." Which one do you think best accomplishes that mission?

I really appreciate your votes and thanks for helping me choose!

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