What I Learned at My Own Workshop

Gina X. Grant:

I was there. A very worthwhile workshop.

Originally posted on Woven Red Author Services:

Have you ever wanted to design your own print books? I did, so I taught myself how. And recently, I led a workshop to teach others.

At the most recent gathering of the Toronto Indie Publishing Meetup group, I presented the FIVE MUST-HAVE TECHNIQUES FOR DESIGNING YOUR OWN PRINT BOOKS.

An exciting group of authors attended—newbies, self-pubbed, and hybrids—happy to network and connect. But the computers… not so happy. My PC ignored the projector. Sigh. Fortunately, organizer Michael came to the rescue with his own laptop. But… mine’s a PC and his a Mac. Would worlds—I mean, operating systems—collide?

I’d laboured over the PowerPoint deck. Would it work? Would it transfer? Would it be legible? Anytime you move a document to another computer, if that computer doesn’t have the same fonts installed, it’ll substitute some boring default.

It opened! Hallelujah! With my gut in knots, I scrolled through the document. All…

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Best Cover Evah!

FaC website frame~right and bottomNOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON AND KINDLE UNLIMITED!

Bookie AwardFEW ARE CHOSEN won the Bookie Award for best YA short of 2012! It’s a GBLT, multicultural, paranormal YA short story (m/m). Available from all your fave e-tailers. More about the Bookie win, below.

TAGLINE: Sparks fly between virgin teenage demon hunters when the Chosen One turns out to be… the Chosen Two?

SUMMARY

Apprentice warrior Blake St. Blake is the Chosen One, raised by an ancient order to defend the world against evil. Well, maybe not the whole world, but at least his neighborhood in downtown Detroit.  When a dreaded reflux demon is sighted in a local cemetery, Blake is sent off to his very first battle, armed with his sword, his super-senses, his black leather duster, and a few well-rehearsed one-liners.

But another Chosen One gets in Blake’s way—an apprentice wizard named Shadow. While the boys argue about who’s the more chosen of the two, the demon escapes.

Blake wants to be angry, but it turns out he and Shadow have a lot in common. Besides, Shadow’s pretty cute, and Blake can’t help but think that the wizard’s skills (and hands and lips and other bits) might make the perfect complement to his. Blake and Shadow are brave enough to challenge the reflux demon in a second battle, but will they have the courage to tell each other how they feel?

EXCERPT:

The demon swiveled its head in my direction. “Oh, you again. You’re the apprentissse warrior, right? Not the junior sssorssserer?”

“Yes, I’m the warrior. See. The. Sword.” I thrust it a bit further forward. The beast nodded, failing to quake with terror, or even to look particularly impressed. I tightened my grip on my weapon and shouted, “I command thee to return to Hell and trouble this fair land no more!”

“Fffair land? Thisss isss downtown Detroit. I’m not ssseein’ a lot of fffair around here. And hey, I’m ssstanding right here. There’sss no need to ssshout.

I opened my mouth to command it again to leave, but it cut me off.

“Lisssten, boy. I’ve got sssome errandsss to run and I’m not going home until I get what I came fffor.”

“And what, pray tell, are these tokens which you seek?”

“Tokensss, what? I’m gonna get a cassse of Bud, and then sssome grossseriesss. And maybe a fffatted calfff. There’sss a butcher over on Missshigan that hasss really good beefff.” Its shoulders raised in what may have been a demonic shrug. “D’you know where there’sss a Wal-Mart around here?”

I refused to answer; refused to be tricked. The foul beast was trying to humanize itself so I would be less inclined to kill it. Well, that wasn’t going to work. It was way too fugly to get to me.

“If you will not return to Hell immediately, then you leave me no choice. I must slay you. I mean, thee.” My cheeks heated and I cursed myself for screwing up the wording. My first demon and I was getting it all wrong. I could hear Hadley’s voice in my head telling me to just breathe and take it easy. Okay. I drew in a deep, calming breath, only to start coughing. God, this thing needed a Tic Tac. Luckily I could do that thing now that allowed me to turn my sense of smell way, way down.

Relax, I ordered myself. It’s not like anyone’s recording your performance. Not like when we taped my practice sessions for critiquing later.

I raised my foot to take a step forward, but froze when I heard the reflux horking up acid, sounding exactly like one of the older members of our Order in the mornings. I threw myself backward, intending to land lightly yards away, poised for my next attack. Instead, I smacked painfully into a tree. My head struck bark, but at least I wasn’t where the demon’s acid landed, sizzling the ground where I’d just been.

I dashed to the right, finding cover among the shadows. The demon advanced, its putrid fire-breath illuminating the night. It was a lot like Shadow’s glowing staff from last week, only stinkier, and I coughed, my eyes watering in the nasty fumes. Too bad Shadow wasn’t here; I could handle the reflux on my own, of course, but his glow stick and ability to paralyze would have been handy. Plus things were always more fun with a friend.

I could really have used a friend right about now.

Continued…

REVIEWS:

4.5 Stars I also really liked this author’s take on what it means to be the Chosen One. I thought their battle with the demon was hysterically funny, which was not a surprise for me, since this author’s humor so far always worked for me. I really liked how excitement and poking fun were mixed with awkward, but so adorable first teenage romance. Highly recommended. ~Sirius, on Jessewave

4.5 Stars This story was so adorable. I absolutely loved it, and to be honest, I laughed my ass off. I haven’t ever read anything by this author, but I certainly will be reading more of her work in the future. I found the characters very charming and sweet, and I thought it was cool how she made the story contemporary and included a lot of pop culture humor. ~Jeff Erno, on Top 2 Bottom Reviews

“Oh my gosh, this was a total riot. Totally fit my geeky fangirl side.” ~Jayhjay, on Goodreads

My rating for this is an A! Storm Grant is an author known for nicely blending humor and romance and in her upcoming release Few Are Chosen that blend continues to be perfect. This may be a short story but it’s long on entertaining characters, witty dialogue, humor, and fast-paced action. From start to finish the reader is drawn in and on the edge of their seat to see if our heroes succeed. Ms. Grant has created a fast-paced and deeply satisfying story. The dialogue is witty and humorous and kept my eyes glued to the page so as not to miss a single moment. Blake and Shadow are a dynamic duo that drew me to them and I’m sure you’ll feel the same. I hope this is just the beginning of their relationship and implore Ms. Grant to return to this world as I’ll definitely be waiting with bated breath to read more about these young superheroes. ~Jody, The Scarf Princess on the Words of Wisdom review site

My Bookie Award: Defying Genres and Genders . . . for the Win!

FEW ARE CHOSEN is a humorous, young adult, multi-cultural, GBLT, paranormal, character study with a strong romantic subplot. All in less than 15,000 words!

Sound like a eclectic genre mash-up? It is! But it works. Works so well that it just won “Best YA Short Story of 2012” in the prestigious Bookie Awards. (The Bookies are “the first industry awards nominated and voted for by readers and bloggers alone!”) Each year they’re presented at the Authors After Dark convention attended by several hundred authors, readers, bloggers and industry professionals.

I’m honored and privileged that readers liked my book enough to nominate it. I’m blown away that it won! I love that a GBLT title took first place in a non-gender-specific category.

 

THE CHICKEN DID IT! “…it’s ruled fow

THE CHICKEN DID IT! “…it’s ruled fowl play.” #BestTypo #Can’tSpell #AmWriting

WORKSHOP: Get Word Working for You

Gina X. Grant:

ATTENTION AUTHORS! You won’t want to miss this awesome and worthwhile workshop. Yonge & Lawrence (Toronto.) next week.

Originally posted on Joan Leacott:

Wednesday May 6, 2015, 6:45 pm to 8:15 pm
George Locke Library Meeting Room, Toronto

link to Meetup
Regardless of your path to publication or your genre, all fiction writers have one thing in common–we need to create a clean, error-free manuscript for professional editing, uploading to retailers, and sending to printers. The first step is to get Word working for you. The workshop will include an overview and, time permitting, a live demonstration of the must-have Word techniques: Styles, Margins, Headers, and Section Breaks. Don’t fight your book, write your book.

Register at Meetup.com.

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Saw amazing performance last night. Guy

Saw amazing performance last night. Guy next to me didn’t clap once… because he would have had to put his freakin’ phone down to do so! #BadBehavior #PeopleSoRude

Only 4 days left to support a good cause

Only 4 days left to support a good cause and win books! http://diversereader.blogspot.ca/2015/04/lgbtq-push-back-charity-giveaway.html

#LGBT Push Back Giveway and more!

 

I’m rarely serious in my blog, but today’s post is very serious, indeed.

giveaway poster


Read the full post here

LGBT people make up less than 10% of the overall population, yet 40% of homeless kids in the U.S. identify as LGBT. Of them, 68% cited family rejection for the reason they were on the streets. Studies have repeatedly shown that homeless LGBT kids are more at risk of being attacked, robbed, and raped than their heterosexual counterparts, more likely to engage in prostitution or survival sex, more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol, and more likely to attempt or commit suicide. Despite this, less than 25% of homeless shelters cater for or specifically target LGBT kids, leaving them at the mercy of individual organizations who can pick and choose who they help and who they abandon on the streets. Laws such as Indiana’s SB 101 enshrine the legality of refusing service—including such basic assistance as food and shelter—to people specifically because they’re LGBT.

This isn’t about pizza. This is about creating a climate in which LGBT individuals feel isolated from and rejected by the rest of society. It’s about creating a climate in which parents feel justified for kicking their kids out on the street. It’s about cutting off any and all support networks which might otherwise be available to prevent kids from ending up on life’s scrapheap because of how they were born.

Want to read a happier ending?

Changing laws and attitudes takes time, and right now there are LGBT people in need who can’t afford to wait. The sooner we can help them, the better, and the more resources we have, the more help we can offer.

That’s why 224 authors, review bloggers, and publishers have got together to offer something wonderful: a reward for people who do a little bit to give back to charity. Instead of spending $5 on a book in the next two weeks, give that $5 to an LGBT charity of your choice, tell us about it in the comments, and go into the draw to win a book from one of our participating donors. And because it’s not all about money, if you can’t make a donation then please take a moment to share a charity’s links and tell us about that instead.

Three fundraisers have been set up to counter the hateful effects of Indiana’s SB 101. #Pizza4Equality is aiming to match the money raised by *that* pizza parlor, with all donations going to Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund. Another fundraiser is aiming to raise $100,000 for Indiana Youth Group. Finally, Planting Peace is trying to raise $100,000 to provide beds for homeless LGBT people.

Please consider giving to one of these deserving fundraisers, or any other LGBT charity anywhere in the world. We’re not telling you where you should donate your time and money, only asking that you do. The smallest things can make the biggest difference, and together, we can do something incredible.

Thank you.

MYSTERICAL: B.O.O. #3–NOW AVAILABLE!

MYSTERICAL: The lies that blind.Mysterical with frameTales of B.O.O.#3

NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON AND KINDLE UNLIMITED

Imagine being the only un-magical kid at Hogwarts. That’s how sixteen-year-old orphan Jaden Raines feels as he enters Azunya High. He struggles to fit in, but he’s really a fish out of water.

The magical isle of Azunya, where paranormal policing agency B.O.O. is headquartered, is shocking to Jaden after having lived his entire life in the American Midwest. Back there, his classmates were freaks, geeks and gangstas. Here, his classmates are genies, witches, healers… A whole pantheon of beings and monsters.

And worse yet, he’ll have to read The Old Man and the Sea. Again.

Jaden might be the new kid in town, but he’s still a teen. It’s love at first sight with handsome skater-boy Stiltz. They have three things in common: neither is able to use magic, they’re both petrified of water, and, lucky for Jaden, they’re both gay. They should bond, but their relationship’s stormy from the start.

To try to fit in, Jaden hides his powerless state, accidentally creating the myth that he’s the most powerful being of them all.

But when the entire school demands a demonstration, what’s Jaden to do?

New lies and cruel deceptions leave Jaden and Stiltz stranded at sea in the middle of a deadly tropical storm.

In order to survive, the boys must spill their secrets. It’s sink or swim for our heroes.

Only the truth can set them free. And keep them alive.

MYSTERICAL: A young adult, gay, contemporary paranormal adventure romance

Full-length novel, coming soon.

EXCERPT

Chapter 1. Scales Pitch

Jaden kicked off his flip-flops. “Ow! Ow!” He hopped from one foot to the other on the hot sand as he struggled to yank the sweat-stuck T-shirt over his head. He tossed the thin cotton shirt onto a nearby stand of pampas grass. It swayed and dipped before the t-shirt dropped onto the dune. Damn. With a dismissive shrug, he turned away, figuring it couldn’t get any more sandy just lying there. He had more important things on his mind than a sweaty T-shirt even if it was the one he’d planned to wear to school today.

He drew a deep breath, preparing himself. The pattern of his surfer shorts grabbed his attention. They were made of some wet-to-dry miracle fabric so they served as both bathing suit and regular, if blindingly bright, shorts. He was about to test drive their bathing suit capacity for the first time.

Ever.

He’d stared too long, stalling. His eyes burned and watered. The cartoony palm trees and waves appeared to move as if fanned by an imagined breeze. He scrunched his eyes shut. The images and colors continued to swirl on the backs of his eyelids.

Swallowing hard, he opened his eyes again, forcing himself to gaze out at the real thing. The bright morning sunlight danced on the breakers. He squinted at the horizon. The ocean went on and on and on until it fell off the edge of the world.

Jaden shuddered.

But he was nothing if not determined. He gritted his teeth, ordering himself to take the first step across the sand toward the water.

Now or never.

Sink or swim.

He would conquer his fear of water if it killed him.

He’d just started a new life, a new home, a new family. He’d turned sixteen a few days ago. It was time to put away childish things. Today was the first day of the rest of his life. Blah-blah-blah and all that inspirational jazz.

It’s just water, for God’s sake. Everybody else thinks it’s fun. Why don’t I?

He scratched his neck so hard it hurt, like he was punishing himself for being weak. For not fitting in.

Okay, Jaden. You got this.

He raised his head and headed towards the sea.

One step. Two. Another. He forced his rubbery legs onward, stumbling awkwardly on the soft sand.

Then it wasn’t soft. It was firm, wet and dark where the tide washed in. He stopped, almost there, sighing as his burning feet cooled. He gasped when a wave rushed up, touching his feet. Touching him. Springing back, he nearly sprawling on the beach.

“Jerk-face. It’s too early for anybody to see you make and ass of yourself.” He clenched his hands and his teeth and stepped forward again. The water licked at his feet with foamy white tongues. It felt soothing and terrifying at the same time.

Another step and he was up to his ankles. Another and it lapped at his calves. The sand beneath his soles melted away with each wave. In and out. In and out. Just like breathing. Something, he reminded himself, that he really should be doing.

Another step and he was up to his knees. Each breath so loud it was almost a gasp.

When the water reached his thighs, he stopped. Far enough for the first time, he decided.

“This isn’t so bad,” he said aloud, trying not to puke. But the truth was, it was really, really bad. He trembled and swayed, his neck itched and his legs stiffened, tingling and numb at the same time.

Then something grabbed him!

Something inhumanly strong wrapped around his legs, clamping them together, ankle to thigh.

“Nooo!” Jaden yelled, toppling into the cold surf. He struggled, gasping for air. Salt and sand stung his eyes. He flailed in the waves, grasping useless handholds of sand and grit.

He was going down. Oh, God. He was going to drown.

With a yell, he kicked out at his attacker, No good. His legs were tightly bound.

Buffeted by whitecaps, he gasped, inhaling seawater, choking. Panicking. He shoved hard at whatever clamped his legs together, putting all his strength into his trembling arms.

His fingers met a strange, alien surface. Slippery, yet warm and sleek. Scales. Jeeze. Had some giant sea snake swallowed his legs? Panic tore through him. A glimpse through the foam. Glossy black scales and a slick, menacing fin.

A sea monster? In the ocean surrounding Azunya! Why had no one warned him? No one cared enough to warn him.

No one had ever cared.

Then from behind, another attacker. Rough hands grabbed his arm, fingers like claws digging in hard.

Jaden bellowed.

He swallowed more salt water, sputtering. His thudding heart shook his entire body. A second pair of hands grabbed him under his other arm, dragging him roughly up and out of the ocean.

Coarse volcanic granules sandpapered his bare back as he was hauled up the shore, away from the waves and their terrifying inhabitants. Turned out his fear of water wasn’t so irrational. He quickly added fear of land to his list.

Once up on the shore, the hands eased their iron grip, but stayed. Warm. Supporting him. Keeping him from collapsing back onto the sand.

Jaden coughed, spewing water, inhaling precious air along with a last few choking droplets.

“Turn him on his side. Recovery position.”

The words were clear, but made no sense to Jaden. He kicked at his new captors, his legs now free. He forced his burning eyes open. Slammed them shut again, blinded by the sun. He scrambled up the wet beach like a startled crab, falling back into dry powdery sand when his legs scuttled faster than his arms.

“Jaden! Jaden! It’s okay. It’s okay. We got you.”

The words made more sense this time. The voice familiar. A voice he was used to obeying, although it wasn’t telling him to pass the ball now. “Coach? Coach Wright?” Jaden gasped, gagging as the last of the inhaled seawater flooded his throat, tasting foul and poisonous. His eyes streamed as he blinked hard, trying to see through salt, sand and tears. “What… What happened?”

“That, my brand new brother, is what we need you to tell us.”

NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON AND KINDLE UNLIMITED

Citizen Police Academy – Week 8

Gina X. Grant:

Interesting stuff here. Especially if you’re writing (or reading) crime fiction, Wish my City had a volunteer police academy.

Originally posted on jamielynnm:

Carol Stream CPA3

It was Drugs and Gangs at last night’s CPA class. We had Corporal Cummings from DuMEG and Detectives Grey and Dunteman from our Special Operations Unit.

DuMEG stands for DuPage Metropolitan Enforcement Group. There are 33 different towns in the county that take part, either by contributing financially or by offering up manpower. My town has had an officer in DuMEG for the past 4 years. The main objective for DuMEG is undercover narcotics investigation.

Heroin is the number one drug now, surpassing cocaine, crack and meth. It’s readily available, cheaper than any other drug and extremely potent. Heroine is the most abused of all narcotics. It’s derived from morphine. It has an unpredictable purity level and an extremely high addiction rate. The most well-known types are China White and Mexican Brown.

The stories that Cummings told about dealing with heroine addicts both turned your stomach and broke your heart…

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Citizen Police Academy – Week 7

Gina X. Grant:

Fascinating stuff here. What’s documentary evidence?

Originally posted on jamielynnm:

CSI shirt

It was CSI night at class yesterday! So for shits and giggles I had to bust out the appropriate shirt. Heh.

Needless to say, it was a hit with both my classmates and our instructors. One of the Evidence guys saw me and said “The CSI tech is here! The class is yours!” :-)  Gotta love these guys.

So yes, last night’s topic was Crime Scene Investigations and Fingerprinting. Officer Cluever was back (this guy is a riot!) so it was a very entertaining evening. He tells the best stories!

I didn’t take a lot of notes last night, mainly because since forensics is a passion of mine, I already knew 90% of what he was talking about. But here are a few of the things he went over:

• 3 kinds of evidence – Physical, Testimonial (least reliable) and Documentary

• First officer on scene gives aid to victim…

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