Tuesday, December 25, 2012

BRoP Year In Review James Garcia Jr.

As 2012 comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the joys and triumphs of the year. To that end, we bring you the 2012 Blog Ring of Power in Review! We’ve teamed up with this years’ BRoP interviewees to bring you eleven days worth of “year in review” guest posts and ten fabulous giveaway prizes! Each day a new guest post will be shared and you’ll have another opportunity to enter the giveaway—so get hopping! And be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post!

Hello, Blog Ring of Power. James Garcia Jr. here. I thank you so much for having me back. I really appreciate the opportunity to potentially reach new readers for my writing. If you recall “meeting” me before, you may remember that I have a crossover vampire series out. By crossover, I mean that there are religious implications in the series beyond the usual. In mine, the question is raised could a vampire be used by God for His purposes.

The year started off slow for me. I had one book out and I was waiting for my small publisher to get back to me with edits for book 2. Unfortunately, that never happened, and I was informed during the summer that the publisher was ceasing operations. This left me with a decision to make: continue on as an indie, something that I really didn’t think I had time or the wherewithal to do; or find another publisher. I held a pity party for myself for about a day, and then quickly decided to proceed alone.

I took this as an opportunity to take another look at my first book, taking another pass at editing before uploading it on Amazon. I then found a professional editor for my second book. Now I have two books there. Thankfully, although we call ourselves Indies, we really do not have to be alone in the endeavor. So many others have stepped up to assist me as I find my way. I hope you have found this to be the case with your work as well. The writing community really is such a constant source of support and encouragement.

As “year in reviews” go, this one hasn’t been much in terms of sales. That’s true for many of us do to the sheer competition out there in the marketplace, but especially true for me since I spent the first half of the year waiting on others, followed by spending the second half of the year getting my independent feet beneath me. What the future holds is anyone’s guess. I will begin setting my sights on producing paperback versions of both of my books next. I’m doing this because my novels take place in my hometown and I am still working on tapping into that demographic.

Beyond that, while I was waiting on my publisher early this year, I wrote a first draft of 
something new. It is a stand-alone paranormal ghost story with a strong romance vibe to it. It is the closest thing to a paranormal romance as I have ever attempted, and I think it’ll do really well. Although I write horror, I really don’t watch it. Instead, I find myself most comfortable with romantic comedies. This new book should illustrate this about me by joining the scares with the need to love and be loved. I will begin working the second draft of this one during December and expect to see this published in early 2013.

Well, that’s what’s going on with me. How about you? What have you got up your collective sleeves? Anything that you are terribly excited about, like I am with my next WIP? We’d love to hear about it, so leave a comment.

As I like to say over at my blog: We’ll talk soon. 

Be sure to stop to check out each of the stops on the Year In Review – new chances to enter the giveaway each day!

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James Garcia Jr.
Author of the vampire novels, Dance on Fire and Dance on Fire: Flash Point.
Stalk me at my blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I didn't write the following.  I don't know who did.  I remember reading this in the Seven Habits, and I stumbled across this on facebook.  It says what I've been attempting to say so much better than I've been saying it, so I thought I'd share...

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—-your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—-and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else—-the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first—-the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

BRoP Year in Review: A Decade of Mostly Harmless Insanity

As 2012 comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the joys and triumphs of the year. To that end, we bring you the 2012 Blog Ring of Power in Review! We’ve teamed up with this years’ BRoP interviewees to bring you eleven days worth of “year in review” guest posts and ten fabulous giveaway prizes! Each day a new guest post will be shared and you’ll have another opportunity to enter the giveaway—so get hopping! And be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post!

Today Danielle has returned with a few more words.

A Decade of Mostly Harmless Insanity

By Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Wow…hard to believe I have in fact been doing this for a decade. Conventions, book releases, editing anthologies…There is a lot to look back on. And to think it all started with one book. Just one. Yesterday's Dreams, a tale of music, myth, magic and ultimately, self-discovery, for both myself and my poor, beleaguered heroine, Kara O'Keefe.

Now I'm sure you are asking yourself right now…what the heck does this have to do with a final look at 2012? Well, let me tell you! Thanks to the wonderful people at Dark Quest Books (Neal Levin, Jess Novesteras, Elektra Hammond, Keith R.A. DeCandido, and Wrenn Simms) and my wonderful beta readers (David Goldstein, Halla Fleischer, L. Jagi Lamplighter, and Jeffrey Lyman) not only has Yesterday's Dreams grown up into a beauty of a book I am more than proud of, but the trilogy it began is now complete. In 2012 all three books in the Eternal Cycle trilogy--Yesterday's Dreams, Tomorrow's Memories, and Today's Promise--were released by Dark Quest Books. To celebrate the release paranormal folk musician Jonah Knight ( composed and performed three songs based on each book in the series. That was at the Dark Quest Books Launch party at Balticon ( which I consider my home convention.

To tell you something about the books, think immortal elven warriors fighting evil demigods…in New York City. Kara O'Keefe is a first-generation Irish-American. She is also a prodigy on the violin and a dutiful daughter. To safeguard her family's home she pawns her heirloom--and enchanted--violin and in the process becomes the prize in a battle between ancient enemies, the forces of good against the forces of evil. In the course of learning she is magical and not altogether human, Kara must save the world. Can she do it? You bet! After all, she is a New Yorker, but the journey is in finding out how.

 If that wasn't excitement enough for the first half of my year, I look back and I am grateful for a number of releases including my work, such as Spells and Swashbucklers (Dragon Moon Press), Mermaid 13 (Padwolf Publishing), and Telling Tales of Terror (Damnation Books), not to mention my first ever solo collection, A Legacy of Stars (Dark Quest Books) where my science fiction fans can find all of my sf short stories all in one place. The collection includes introduction to each story by such authors as Jack Campbell, Jody Lynn Nye, David Sherman, Jack McDevitt, Michael Z. Williamson, Steve White, Bud Sparhawk and many more.

(You know, for someone who started off the year recovering from major surgery, I seem to have managed to get an awful lot done!)

And finally, an announcement that is both gratifying and frustrating all at once…Our steampunk anthology, In an Iron Cage (Dark Quest Books), edited by myself, Elektra Hammond, and Neal Levin, was selected as a finalist for the 2013 EPIC Award for Best Anthology. That is the gratifying part. The frustration? We don't find out who won until March!

As I wrap up my post and my year, I wanted to thank The Blog Ring of Power and its readers s for letting me share my news so many times over this year. Writers write, but the readers make the magic each time they pick up our books and allow our worlds to come alive for them. To give a little something back, myself and Dark Quest Books are offering up a collection of PDF ebooks of each Dark Quest title mentioned in this blog post to two lucky winners. Just post your comments here for a chance to win.

Entering is easy – just use the Rafflecopter below. Winners will be chosen from among eligible Rafflecopter entries (chosen by Rafflecopter) and receive a prize of our choice. We’ll do our best to give the print books to those that don’t have an e-reader, but we can’t make any guarantees, so please be aware when entering that you are most likely going to win an e-book.

Be sure to stop to check out each of the stops on the Year In Review – new chances to enter the giveaway each day!

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Finding that Silver Lining

Things Are Not As They Seem.

Last night my wife and I attended my company Christmas Party.  It was a fun evening.  Part of the festivities was exchanging gifts and playing Dirty Santa.   

For those of you who haven’t heard of Dirty Santa here are the rules:  Everyone gets a number and then in turn walks up to the gift table.  Number one opens a gift.  Number Two then gets a choice, take the gift from Number One, or open a new gift from the table.  If Number Two picks a gift from the table, then Number Three gets a choice, open a gift from the table or take one of the already opened gifts.  If Number Three takes Number One’s gift, then Number One can take the gift from Number Two, or go back to the table and open a new gift.  The stolen gift can only be stolen three times, after that the gift can no longer be stolen and has a home.  As you can imagine some gifts are more popular than others.

I didn’t steal a gift, I opened a gift.  Someone took pity on me and stole my gift, as it wasn’t a fit for me.  So I took a tool.  Later my tool gift was stolen.  Someone else told my wife which gift I should open next, so I did. 

It was a lump of coal Christmas decoration that said “Naughty” on it.  Well, I am a good sport and thought, it will make a great conversation piece hanging on the tree.  However, one coworker loves to play gags and such.  I knew this and trust my coworker, but everyone was laughing and having fun, and I guess I did show disappointment on my face.  I tried not to, like I said, I try to be a good sport about things.
Needless to say, my gift was never stolen again, but when it was done, my coworker came up to me and said, here, this is the real present.  It was a bucket full of DVD’s candy, and pop corn, with nifty plastic theater type popcorn containers; enough for the whole family to fill with popcorn when we decide to watch movies at home.  It was the perfect gift for me, and for me to share with my family.

Last night’s party illustrated something I’ve thought about over the years.  Things are not what they appear to be.  A lump of coal turned into a tradition of fun nights with family and friends with home theater accessories.  Life is full of things that at first look like disasters, but as time goes on turn out to be blessings in disguise. 

I wrecked my car several years ago.  Bad deal.  But I now have a better car, one I really enjoy driving, and more fitting my needs than the car that I wrecked.  Good Deal.

Our friends had their home burn down while they were out of town for Christmas many years ago.  Bad Deal.  However, no one was home, no one was killed, no one was injured.  They lost everything.  They now have a beautiful new home, filled with new furnishings, new wardrobes, new everything, a fresh start.  Good Deal.  Family and friends had photos and were able to restore a lot of the things lost, true some things can never be recovered, but the important things, were not lost.

I have a hole in my roof.  Bad deal.  Water came in and damaged a few things.  Bad Deal.  But now I have to clean things up, and when I am done, I will have thrown away a lot of junk I’ve been hording over the years and the place will be cleaner.  Good Deal.

There is a positive and a negative side to most everything.  Happiness depends on how you look at things.  If you try and look for the positive, you may just find a window into happiness in your own life.
Have a Merry Christmas, and enjoy the holidays.  May you find time to spend with family and friends, and find that silver lining in those storm clouds. 

The Power of Five

When I have a project, like painting, or cleaning I like to dig in and spend the day working on it.  I remember many a Saturday working in the yard, or organizing the garage.  At the end of the day a pile of trash is by the curb awaiting disposal.  Something about completing a job and seeing the results just makes my day.

However, now life has become very hectic and a full Saturday to do a major project is no longer mine. 
I have discovered the power of five.  Instead of taking on a huge project and dealing with it in a day.  I take a section and just get a little bit done.  Then another day take on another section.  Over time the project is done.

I also like to read.  I used to be able to sit and read most of an afternoon.  So now when I get a moment I read a page or two.  I eventually get to read the whole book, but it doesn’t happen like it used to.

It is amazing just how much can be accomplished in just five minutes.  Set a timer, have a plan, work with what you can.  But don’t let five minutes pass, a lot can happen in just five minutes.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

BRoP Year in Review

As 2012 comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the joys and triumphs of the year. To that end, we bring you the 2012 Blog Ring of Power in Review! We’ve teamed up with this years’ BRoP interviewees to bring you eleven days worth of “year in review” guest posts and ten fabulous giveaway prizes!

·         Prize pack containing an e-book copy of Yesterday's Dreams, Tomorrow's Memories, Today's Promise, In An Iron Cage, and A Legacy of Stars by Danielle Ackley McPhail
·         Prize pack containing an e-book copy of The Watchtower, Under Cover of Wicca, and Of Covens and Packs by Darke Conteur
·         e-book copy of The Flower of Isbelline by Heidi Garrett
·         e-book copy Dance on Fire and Dance on Fire: Flashpoint by James Garcia, Jr.
·         $10 gift card to (courtesy of Pauline Baird Jones)
·         Winner’s choice of paperback copy Daughter of the Goddess Lands or Shadow of the Horsemen by Sandra Saidak
·         e-book copy of Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

(M) Dec. 17th – Jacqueline Seewald (at
(T) Dec. 18th – Danielle Ackley McPhail (at
(W) Dec. 19th – Alma Alexander (at
(Th) Dec. 20th - Susan Kaye Quinn (at
(F) Dec. 21st - 5. Darke Conteur (at
(M) Dec. 24th - Pauline Jones (at
(T) Dec. 25th - James Garcia (at
(W) Dec. 26th - Barbara Ann Wright (at
(Th) Dec. 27th - Sandra Saidak (at
(F) Dec. 28th - Heidi Garrett (at
(M) Dec. 31st - Sue Burke (at