Sunday, July 29, 2007

Summary of Past Two Weeks

Wow, I haven't blogged in a while. Sorry about that. It's been a busy two weeks with limited wi-fi access. Basically, here's a summary of what I've been doing:

Two weeks ago (July somthing--no calander available)
I was a chaperone at Big Stuff Camp with my church youth group.n (Center Point Community Church in Naples, FL). We had an awesome time, and I really bonded with some of the girls in our youth group. I got to hear Andy Stanley and Louie Giglio (sp?) speak, so it was pretty cool. I also got to meet a phenomenal family who owns Barnies Coffee Company by the Datona Beach Hilton Hotel. They let me crash in their coffee shop every day so I could work on Out of the Shadows. They're also from Boston, and they still liked me even though I'm a Yankees fan! If you're in the Daytona Beach area and want coffee, skip Starbucks and go to Barnies.

Last Week
I was a speaker at the Journey Children's Conference at Grace Tabernacle Church in Ft. Walton Beach, FL. It's right next to Eglin Air Force Base so the place was crawling with military personel. I wanted to grab each of them and thank them for protecting this country, but that would have looked weird to have some chick stopping everyone. I got to meet a great group of kids from St. Robert, Missouri--Hi Rock of Ages!--and I also got to visit the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola for research on my third novel.

Next Weekend
I'll be at BabelCon in Baton Rouge, LA. I'll be doing a panel about writing and publishing, and speaking about writing fantasy. (I'll also be selling books.) If you can't find me, look for the best creole shop in town or a PJ's coffee shop.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Frustrations in Writing

Or, Vent Time!

Argh! I’m currently plodding through my first draft of Out of the Shadows: Book II of the Elysian Chronicles, trying to make it my second draft—which has to be done by the end of this week, by the way, if I want to get it out to my advance readers before I leave for three weeks so I can get their comments when I come back. Anyway, the first part of the novel flows smoothly from one scene to the other. Everything makes sense and feels right (finally). Putting my scenes together to has thus far been easy (and taken me a week.)

Unfortunately, just after my midpoint, everything goes haywire. I’ve got tangents, loose ends that never get resolved, repetitive scenes that quickly become annoying, etc. Name your writing problem and, trust me, it’s in there. Basically, the best way to describe working with the last half of the Out of the Shadows manuscript is this: it’s like putting a puzzle together. I’ve got all the pieces I need—as well as a whole bunch of pieces that I don’t need. I have to sort between the pieces and figure out which ones belong and which ones stay, only I don’t have the box cover to look at.

Add to that, the fact that I’m dealing with two separate dimensions with two separate plots, meaning two separate puzzles that have to fit together. The question becomes, can I get this done in four days?

Probably not without coffee…

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For more information on my novel, A Prophecy Forgotten: Book I of the Elysian Chronicles, and my upcoming novel, Out of the Shadows: Book II of the Elysian Chronicles, check out my website at

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mean Ole Mr. Latte

Or How a Cup of Coffee Tried to Embarrass Me

Those of you who know me know how much I like coffee—specifically lattes. I’ve even had kids who’ve heard me speak mention that I was drinking my happy juice, as I like to call it. Well yesterday, my favorite drink turned against me.

I was at Barnes & Noble, giving a writing workshop on The Art of Storytelling. I had, in my possession, a nice grande latte fresh from the cafĂ©. I had just started the workshop, and I was instructing each of the attendants to introduce themselves and tell everyone what they liked to write. As one of the students was talking, I took the first gulp of my latte—always the best, you know.

BURN! It was scalding, and basically lit my entire tongue on fire. Of course, I’m the speaker, so I can’t show any emotion. I forced a smile, nodded my head, and pointed to the next person, meanwhile wishing for some ice water. (I pulled it off! No one knew!)

So I took the cap off the latte, and set it down to cool as everyone else introduced themselves.

But that’s not the only trick Mean Ole Mr. Latte had up his sleeve. As I was explaining what Point of View was, I began to sip my latte, enjoying how nutty it tasted as it went down. It was hot, soothing, and lulling me into a false sense of security. As I was talking, I was making motions with my hands trying to illustrate the concept of “Show, Don’t Tell.” That’s when it happened. Mean Ole Mr. Latte saw an opportunity, jumped in front of my hands, and BAM!

Oh, yes. You all know where I’m going with this. My speaking notes… The table… Everything covered in coffee. Probably one of my more embarrassing moments as a speaker.

So for those of you who attended the workshop, thank you for not laughing at me.

For more information on my novel, A Prophecy Forgotten: Book I of the Elysian Chronicles, and my upcoming novel, Out of the Shadows: Book II of the Elysian Chronicles, check out my website at

Monday, July 09, 2007

Out of the Shadows & Home Run Derby

Or: Multi-Tasking Put to the Test

First, a bit of superstitious business. My premonition about my watching the New York Yankees and them winning is proving true, but I just can’t watch them until after August 31st when Out of the Shadows is due.

Second, tonight, I shall attempt the impossible—watch Home Run Derby while editing Out of the Shadows: Book II of the Elysian Chronicles. Impossible, you say? Well, usually, yes, but I have with me, the Magic Mute Button to aid in my quest. Ah, yes. The Magic Mute Button. See, I’m auditorily stimulated, which is really weird because I’m a writer, but anyway…. Sound can break me out of my zone. That’s why I watch most of my baseball games with the aid of the Magic Mute Button while I’m trying to edit. With the game (in this case, derby) on mute, I can glance up and see how things are doing without breaking out of the “zone.”

After watching some of the pre-derby magic, I have decided that if I had to pick a spot in the ball park to watch the derby, I’d be in a kayak in McCovey Cove. That looks like so much fun! (Only unlike Kenny Mayne, I would be wearing a wetsuit instead of a helmet camera.)

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This Week’s Author Events

Tuesday, 07/10/07
Writing Workshop on The Art of Storytelling with a Book Signing to follow.
Where: Barnes & Noble, Waterside Shops
When: Workshop: 2-4pm; Book Signing 4-6pm

Join me at Barnes & Noble as I lead a workshop on The Art of Storytelling. We’ve discussed Plot, Character Development, and Description. Now we’ll be discussing the execution of the story. (Please do not bring a guillotine—or a shredder. That’s not what I mean by execution.) Later, I’ll be signing copies of my fantasy novel, A Prophecy Forgotten: Book I of the Elysian Chronicles.

Saturday, 07/14/07
Writing Workshop on Making Make-Believe Believable with a Book Signing to follow
Where: Borders, Gulf Coast Town Center
When: Workshop 1-2pm, Book Signing 2-4pm

Join me at Borders as I lead a workshop on Making Make-Believe Believable. I’ll be discussing the art of writing fantasy, science fiction, horror, and paranormal without going overboard. Later, I’ll be signing copies of my fantasy novel, A Prophecy Forgotten: Book I of the Elysian Chronicles.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Congrats to Clemons on His 350th Win!

The Rocket has finally won his 350th game. For those who are unfamiliar with baseball, this is a huge feat. Baseball has been played professionally for over 100 years, and in that time, only 8 total pitchers, including Roger Clemons, have won 350 games or higher. What’s even more amazing is that Clemons has done this during an era where pictures have been on a five game rotation instead of the old fashioned 4 game rotation and where managers often take pitchers out of a ball game earlier than they used to in favor of relief pitchers. Go Rocket! And to think that I saw the entire game on TV tonight—highly unusual for me these days, but I had a month’s worth of ironing and laundry to do. (Don’t tell my agent or my editor. They’ll kill me for not working on the sequel.) (I also got to see Clemons pitch his last regular season game in Tampa the first time he retired.)

On another note, I think I’m onto something here. The Yankees seem to only do well when I’m watching them, and I’ve been missing most of the games because I’ve been working on my sequel. (See! I’m not totally obsessed!) But it seems that when I’ve watched the games—or at least made comments on their poor play on the blog, they’ve done well. Case in point, their lovely winning streak a month ago…

No, I’m not really superstitious—but I do have a lucky blanket that I swear knocked Jeter out of his 0 for April slump in 2003 (I think it was 03), and I did call Aaron Boone’s home run the day before it happened based on said superstitious beliefs so…. Don’t be surprised if you see a few more blogs about the Yankees. (No, the lucky blanket doesn’t work anymore. I washed it after a bad game to get all the bad luck out, and it took the good luck with it—hence the Yankees 2003 World Series loss to the Florida Marlins.)

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Out of the Shadows: Prologue Part 2

M. B. Weston
Prologue Part 2

Davian burst through the carved wooden door, barely noticing its creak as it swung back and forth. Usually, the Treetop’s wood-paneled walls made him feel cozy and comfortable, but not today—especially since he smelled the sterile aroma of soap instead of food. He flew to the bar and hopped on a perching stool, ignoring the two merchants who strained their necks to peek at the Treetop’s newest patron. Davian glanced at Maurice, who muttered to himself as he wiped the far edge of the bar’s counter. “How many times are you going to clean this counter, Maurice?”

“’Till after tomorrow’s vote.” Maurice looked up from his wiping, startled. “Um…. You don’t usually come around this early, Seraph.”

“No, I don’t. But that’s not why you’re surprised to see me, is it?”

Maurice sighed. “No foolin’ you, now is there?” He reached under the counter and pulled out a scroll. “A cherubian came in here about fifteen minutes ago and said you’d be in. He said to give you this.”

Davian’s brow wrinkled as he took the scroll. “That’s strange. I didn’t tell anyone I was coming here. What was his name?”

“He wouldn’t give me his name. Said the message on the scroll was from someone named Cassadern.”

Davian’s heartbeat quickened, and his face turned hot. Cassadern was a seer—a unicorn who could see the future. Davian had met him, just before the Third Battle, but he had not seen the unicorn since.

“You look worried, Seraph. If this Cassadern and his loony messenger come in again, I can make sure they won’t bother you.”

Davian shook his head and pocketed the scroll, intending to read it later. “No need for that. Cassadern is just an old friend.” Davian took off his helmet and set it on the bar. “So how’s business?”

“Good, but I don’t think that’s so good.”

“How’s that?”

“Well, sir, cherubians used to come to this tavern to enjoy a good time with their friends. Now it’s just a watering hole they flock to so they can drown out that scandal you’ve been uncovering.” Maurice sighed. “Elysia may have rebuilt this city, but its residents still need repair. Your usual?”

Davian nodded.

Maurice grabbed a mug and filled it with Davian’s favorite lager—a dark brew with a splash of amber. He set the mug of honeywine in front of Davian. “You look like you could use more than one of these.”

“I could.” Davian frowned. “And maybe good many more.” He sipped the honeywine and smiled as he savored the lager’s sweet, smooth tingle. Once he set the mug down, his frown returned.

Maurice eyed Davian and yelled, “Harley!”

A skinny, freckle-faced cherubian adolescent boy with brown hair flew out of the honeywine cellar. “Yes, sir?”

Maurice pointed to the two merchants. “Go check up on those customers while I entertain the seraph here.”

Davian nodded at the boy, and Harley immediately looked at the floor. Maurice rolled his eyes. “It’s just the good Major in a seraph’s uniform, Harley. Same cherubian who used to help you switch the labels on my honeywine barrels as a joke. Now go help those customers.” Harley flew to the merchants, and Maurice turned to Davian. “Bet’cha didn’t know I knew you did that, did you?”

“I didn’t, but I’m not surprised.” Davian sighed. “Majors can have more fun than seraphs. It will only get worse after tomorrow.”

Maurice eyed Davian’s frown. “The idea of a king doesn’t thrill you, does it?”

Davian shook his head. “The senate’s proposal gives too much power to one cherubian—more than even Ezzer had. The Runes tell us we will have a king again, but I still don’t like it.”

“I think you and I are the only ones who still believe the Runes, Seraph.” Davian’s frown deepened, and Maurice raised his eyebrows. “So you think the senate’s motion for a king will pass?”

“Your guess is as good as mine, Maurice.”

“Ah, but I trust your perceptions better than—”

“You should know better than to trust my perceptions by now. All the senators who would have voted against a king were killed because of my misplaced perceptions. Because I chose to trust him.” Him was Eric, the name Davian refused to let escape his lips.

A splash of cold liquid hit Davian’s thigh, and plates, mugs, and silverware crashed against the floor. Davian turned and saw Harley standing next to the bar holding an empty tray, staring at the broken honeywine mugs and plates, looking as though he wanted to throw up. “I’m sorry, sir.”

Maurice crossed his arms. “What do you think you’re doin’? You should pay more attention, and—and you even spilt honeywine on the good seraph, here!”

Davian placed his hand on Maurice’s arm. “It’s all right, Maurice.” He hopped off the perching stool and helped Harley pick up the mess.

“It, it wasn’t your fault, Seraph,” Harley whispered.

“Now don’t you go troubling the seraph,” said Maurice. “He knows he had nothing to do with you droppin’ this. He’s just helpin’ you because that’s who he is.”

“I, I mean, the Third Battle,” said Harley as Davian placed the last shard of ceramic on the tray. “It wasn’t your….” Harley’s voice trailed off. He picked up the tray and scampered into the honeywine cellar.

“I don’t know what’s gotten into him,” said Maurice as he watched Harley shut the door. “Been shaky ever since the Third Battle.” Maurice turned back to Davian. “He’s right, though. It wasn’t your fault. You trusted your friend. No crime in that. Sometimes, the people we’re closest to can fool us the best. Eric had all of us fooled—not just you. And you just remember that the rest of us are still alive because of you. I’ve heard that at least a third of the Senate—possibly more even—are trying to name you king instead of—”

“I’m no king, Maurice.”

“Well you’d make a better one than—”

Davian held up his hand. “A few senators already mentioned it to me, and I told them the same thing. I don’t want the crown. I belong in battle. Not wasting away on a throne.” Davian rubbed the seraph’s star on his helmet. He frowned and turned the helmet around so the star faced away from him. “And I certainly don’t belong inside the palace researching a battle I should never have let happen.” Davian had spent every available minute of the past three months investigating Eric’s conspiracy, all while the mornachts were taking advantage of Elysia’s weakened forces in the south. I should be fighting mornachts instead of us. Davian took another swig, set his mug down, and sighed.

Maurice grabbed Davian’s mug and refilled it. “Well, let me tell you, there’s a lot of folks around here, myself included, who don’t exactly feel safe knowing that you’re here while all the lieutenants Salla promoted to seraphs are out there organizing the fighting. Bad use of resources if you ask me.” He set the mug in front of Davian. “You should ask High Seraph Salla to let you go back to battle. Especially since the two of you are finally getting along.”

Davian lifted an eyebrow and took a quick sip of honeywine. He and Salla were the only high-ranking officers who survived the Third Battle. Salla became high seraph over all of Elysia’s military, and he promoted Davian to arch-seraph. The two of them had vowed to work together for the good of the nation, but those peaceful days only lasted six weeks.

“Oh. So that’s what’s bothering you,” said Maurice. “Things are back to normal again between you and Salla.”

Is it that obvious? Davian thought as he took another gulp of honeywine. Indeed, he had stormed into the Treetop just after Salla informed him that his patience with Davian’s investigation had worn thin and warned Davian that he would assign him to another project if he failed to turn up any new evidence. That prompted Davian to let a few of his feelings escape, and the two had engaged in their most bitter argument ever. Davian set the honeywine mug down and wiped his mouth. “You have the best honeywine in all Elysia, my friend.”

Maurice laughed. “And you still don’t lie as well as the Tree did.”

“No one could hide his feelings as well as Zephor.” Davian hopped off the perching stool and grabbed his helmet. He glanced at the seraph’s star and frowned again. “The only thing that keeps me from going crazy as I rot away in that palace is my promise to Zephor on his grave that I would track down his killers.”

“Oh, that you’re doin’, sir. The magistrate’s just letting them go on petty loopholes—and don’t you go thinking that the rest of the country hasn’t noticed. We have. I’m hearin’ people talkin’ about it daily. It frustrates us just as much as it frustrates you.” Maurice sighed. “I guess that’s one of the reasons the rest of them are clamoring for a king. They just want the politics to stop.”

Davian donned his helmet. “Politics never stop Maurice.” Only Davian knew that Salla was actually the force holding the magistrate at bay. Davian suspected Salla hesitated to file charges against the powerful senators, officers, and businessmen on Davian’s list of traitors. “Just keep the honeywine flowing, Maurice. And if you’ll excuse me, I have a policy meeting I have to attend.”

Davian flew out the tavern door and stood in the shade of the Treetop’s porch. He reached in his pocket and fingered the parchment scroll from Cassadern, wondering why the unicorn would choose to send him a written message through a cherubian. He pulled the scroll out and opened it. The time we talked about is almost at hand. Do not give up your faith or your hope. The message sent chills down Davian’s wings. The Runes’ Book of Prophecy foretold of an evil cherubian dictator who would rise to power and enslave Elysia. Davian leaned against the balcony as the exact words from the Runes ran through his head. During a third battle for the crown city, there shall be a great tragedy. The public will cry for change, but the one who answers it will not be the one the people thought. “The great tragedy was the death of our leaders,” Davian whispered. “And the public is crying for change.” He groaned. How could I have missed it? Just before the Third Battle, Cassadern had even told Davian that the dictator would soon arise. But how soon? wondered Davian. And who is he?

“Um, excuse me, uh, Seraph?”

Davian turned around and saw Harley looking his feet. “What can I do for you, young man?”

Harley wrung his hands. “Are you still investigating that… the Third Battle, sir?”

Davian gave Harley his full attention. “I’m still investigating.”

Harley glanced back and forth. His hands started to shake, and his voice fell to a whisper. “I need to speak with you, sir. Now.” He glanced over his shoulder. “Please.”

To Be Continued in M. B. Weston’s Out of the Shadows: Book II of the Elysian Chronicles

Click here to read the more of the prologue & first chapter:

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

I’ve Been Selected as a Panelist at Dragon*Con!

I cannot believe it! I’ve been selected as a panelist at Dragon*Con, the biggest Science Fiction, Gaming, and Fantasy Festival in the United States of America! To give you a hint of how big this is, Sean Astin (think Goonies, Rudy, Lord of the Rings—He’s Samwise Gamgee for Pete’s sake!) is going to be a guest as well! Move over Lou Ferrigno, I’m now in Sean Astin territory. My other friend, Tracy Akers—the author of The Fire and the Light, is a guest, too.

The whole thing happens in Atlanta, GA, and, well you can see the date in the picture. I’ll be on at least 4 panels, and if I can get over my own fears, I might…well, I’ll let you know if I actually do it, but it involves finding brown angel wings and a breastplate as well as a costume parade through down town Atlanta. (And throwing out free e-books to everyone,) Tee hee!

You can find out more information about Dragon*Con at Drop me a line if you are going!

(Wow, you can tell I’ve been doing nothing but writing manuscripts for a while. I cannot believe it? Drop me a line of you are going? I’ve stopped using contractions—the telltale sign of a died-in-the-wool writer.)

For more information on my novel, A Prophecy Forgotten: Book I of the Elysian Chronicles, and my upcoming novel, Out of the Shadows: Book II of the Elysian Chronicles, check out my website at