Saturday, September 29, 2007
The US Women's Soccer Team has given us some great Women's World Cup moments, included but not limited to championships and shirt tossing. Unfortunately, the reputations of both America and women suffered a heavy blow this week when United States goalkeeper, Hope Solo, insulted both the decision of her coach to sit her and also the play of Brianna Scurry, the teammate who replaced her. ESPN reports Solo as saying, "It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that. There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves." Thank you, Hope. It's our time to show men what great sports we are and how we, too, have class, and you go and screw it up by behaving like one of the villains in a teenage chick flick. You basically made the world think American women are nothing but spoiled, selfish, little brats. Star Wars fans everywhere and I agree that you do not deserve the right to bear the last name of Solo.
ESPN also reports that the US soccer team coach and the captains decided to bench Ms. Solo--not just to bench her, but also to ban her from the game against Norway, thus showing the world that we Americans find that behavior unacceptable. I would like to offer my thanks to them for preserving American female dignity.
As for Hope Solo, I found a verse in Proverbs she might want to read. Proverbs 11:22 Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.
(Yes, I know. This is a slightly bitter blog for me, but I despise women who make the rest of us look bad.)
Tags: World Cup, soccer, ESPN, Nike, Women's World Cup, Hope Solo, Brianna Scurry
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I would like an honest show of hands. In May, how many of you believed that the Yankees would make the playoffs?
I was engrossed in writing Out of the Shadows at the time, and I tried not to think about it. I did, however, notice one thing—which I often screamed at the ESPN reporters who continued to trash both the players and Joe Torre. All right, I noticed two things. First, not many Yankees (sans Jeter and Posada) were playing to their potential. (Remember the sub-300 batting averages?) Second, all of the Yankees’ starting pitchers came from AA ball. Come on sports analysts! Don’t tell me you didn’t see this coming! A team with high potential that’s not being reached and sick pitchers? Did you honestly think the Yanks would stay down that long? Or were you just wanting to stick it to them because you were sick of their success?
Still, 14 ½ game deficits are hard to make up.
So what’s the lesson here? Obviously, not giving up. Grinding it out, as many pitchers might say. Those words are easy to speak, but how often do we really believe them during some of our most difficult times?
Writing is a tough business. Traveling, speaking, not much money available for advertising, hearing that people love A Prophecy Forgotten but feeling frustrated that most of the world doesn’t even know the book exists… Many times, I’ll do a bunch of self-promotion but never really see it working. As a novelist with a goal of becoming an international best seller with a movie deal, those things wear me down. (Presumed fruitless labor rarely encourages anyone.) Often, I feel like just giving up on the dream and getting a day job.
I try to remind myself of all the lessons found in baseball. No one is supposed to be able to come back from a 3-0 game deficit in the ALCS (yes, ’04 was painful), no one was supposed to beat Lou Gehrig’s playing streak, no one could ever beat Babe Ruth’s lifetime home run record, and in May, the Yankees were never going to make the playoffs.
So here’s to you ’04 Red Sox, Cal Ripken, Hank Aaron (Barry who?), and ’07 Yankees. I’m still in the ring, my towel will not be thrown, and I will refuse to stay down. Out of the Shadows and Book III of the Elysian Chronicles are for you because as Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.”
Tags: Baseball, New York Yankees, playoffs, Yogi Berra, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Joe Torre, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Cal Ripken, Hank Aaron, Red Sox, ESPN, A Prophecy Forgotten, Out of the Shadows, Elysian Chronicles
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
For example, on September 17th, the Text to Speech Blog posted an article about how my publisher used Neospeech to create the audio book. Also, on September, 21st, the Art Audio Books Blog also discussed the new audio version of A Prophecy Forgotten.
Tons of publishers create audio books, but ArcheBooks decided to do something newsworthy by trying something new, resulting in increased publicity for Archebooks, me, and A Prophecy Forgotten. Click here for more information about A Prophecy Forgotten in audio. Also, stay tuned. I'm going to be producing a separate audio book of A Prophecy Forgotten in audio read by yours truly pretty soon.
Tags: audio books, Neospeech, Text to Speech, A Prophecy Forgotten, ArcheBooks
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Oh, the humanity!
The good news is that I'm putting it in my deleted scene folder, so I can always put it back!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Tags: A Prophecy Forgotten, The Elysian Chronicles, Science Fiction
Saturday, September 22, 2007
To the 7th and 6th graders, I spoke about writing and the process of getting published. I also gave them the opportunity to ask questions. My favorite question was, “Why is the angel riding on a unicorn instead of flying?” Well, there is a very good answer to that question, and you’ll have to read A Prophecy Forgotten: Book I of the Elysian Chronicles to find out. A hint, however. If you were a fighter pilot, would you want to fly over enemy airspace—especially if the enemy owned a bunch of anti-aircraft guns?
Tags: unicorn, angel, A Prophecy Forgotten, Elysian Chronicles, Out of the Shadows
Friday, September 21, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(September 20, 2007 - Naples, FL) Naples-based author M. B.Weston will be participating as a panelist at the 26th annual Necronomicon Convention. This convention includes a wide range of events including literature, video, art, dances, trivia contests and more and will be held at the Hyatt Downtown Tampa. For more information, go online to www.stonehill.org/necro.htm.
MB Weston will participate on three panels on Saturday, October 6th: Best Sword & Sorcery You Might Have Missed at 11:00am, Crafting Believable Characters at 1:00am, and Most Common Writing Mistakes at 5:00pm. Weston will also be available for book signing during the weekend event.
“I’m honored to have been chosen as a panelist and excited to be included with such distinguished guests,” says M. B. Weston. “I am pleased to have another opportunity to discuss writing skills and share my writing with science fiction and fantasy fiction fans in Florida.”
A Prophecy Forgotten is the first in the Elysian Chronicles trilogy. It’s a Tolkien-meets-Clancy fantasy novel about guardian angel warfare and treason that embodies the themes of faith, hope and living according to your purpose through the fantasy fiction story of Davian, a battle-hardened major in the special operations division of the cherubian military. While Davian is on assignment deep in enemy territory, he is called and sent to Earth to guard seven-year-old Tommy – a boy who has been prophesied to save Earth. Tommy is just trying to survive the second grade, persecution from bullies and the strain of his parent’s divorce. He has no idea he could be the chosen one, or of the spiritual forces at work surrounding him. A Prophecy Forgotten (ISBN-10: I-59507-I69-5; ISBN-13: 978-159507-169-9) is available now.
Her next book, Out of the Shadows: Book II of the Elysian Chronicles, will be available in December 2007.
Weston is also available for book signings or speaking engagements. M. B. Weston can be reached at 239-821-3769, by email at email@example.com, or online by visiting http://www.elysianchronicles.com/.
Tags: M. B. Weston, A Prophecy Forgotten, Elysian Chronicles, Necronomicon, Out of the Shadows
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
(September 19, 2007 - Naples, FL) On Tuesday, October 2nd from 7:00 – 9:00 PM Naples-based author M.B.Weston will share “Open Mic Night” hosting duties with Get Reel’s actress Jillian Windham. This FREE event happens at Barnes & Nobles in the Waterside Shops located at 5377 Tamiami Trail North in Naples.
“Open Mic Night” is an opportunity for the public to come out and share their talents whether it be reading poetry or playing music. Here in Naples, “Open Mic Night” has evolved into a venue for those in middle and high school to showcase their bands’ talent. Each act gets 5-10 minutes on stage (depending on the amount of acts) to perform and get more comfortable in front of a crowd while building their following. In between scheduled performances, Weston and Windham will keep the evening going through a variety of different acts.
Weston graduated cum laude from USF with a BS in Accounting, but she knew writing was her true passion. She broke into print in November 2004 when her poem, “Message in a Bottle,” was published in the Arizona Literary Magazine. Two years later, she landed her first book contract with ArcheBooks Publishing, Inc.
Weston released her first book in April 2007 entitled A Prophecy Forgotten, published through ArcheBooks Publishing. A Prophecy Forgotten is the first in the Elysian Chronicles trilogy.
Weston is known as a gifted orator and often speaks to writers conference workshops and panels, classrooms, and writing organizations about the craft of writing and the process of getting published. She has a passion for teenagers and leads the Young Writer’s of Naples—a teenage chapter of the Florida Writers Association
A Prophecy Forgotten (ISBN-10: I-59507-I69-5; ISBN-13: 978-159507-169-9) is available now. Weston is also available for book signings or speaking engagements. M.B. Weston can be reached at 239-821-3769, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or online by visiting www.elysianchronicles.com.
For more information on Open Mic Night contact Barnes & Noble at (239) 598-5200.
Tags: Barnes & Noble, M. B. Weston, A Prophecy Forgotten, The Elysian Chronicles
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
THE UNLIKELY YANKEES FAN
M. B. Weston
Most people say I don't seem like a typical New York Yankees fan. I have to admit they're right. I've only spent twelve hours of my life in New York City. I don't know where the Holland Tunnel goes, and I don't know the difference between the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, or Brooklyn--except that Brooklyn used to be the home of Ebbets Field, Jackie Robinson, and the Dodgers (before they were kidnapped by L.A., but I digress). It's true I don't have much in common with people from New York, but if you put me inside Yankee Stadium, I'll feel right at home. Inside the famed House That Ruth Built, we all share the same passion: a love for the team that wears the pinstripes.
I haven't always adored the Yankees or their fans. I grew up in Naples, Florida, a quiet beach side community trying desperately to be the town time forgot. Naples took great pains to fight against such hideous evils as unsightly billboards, tall buildings, public transportation, and spring training baseball. Its balmy weather and sandy, white beaches made it a winter haven for northerners. Every January, February, and March, people from the big cities up North--especially from New York--flooded our quiet town, clogged our roads, and filled our favorite restaurants. They also bought our products and kept our economy running, so we didn't mind the inconvenience--much. It was during these winter months that I began to sense an almost unbreachable chasm that stood between me and New Yorkers--between our lifestyles, our cultures, our fashions, and especially our baseball teams.
Baseball, the great American pastime, may be the only thing able to simultaneously pull Americans together and tear us apart. My father, and therefore I, loved the Atlanta Braves, and we despised the New York Yankees more than any other Major League Baseball team. The Yankees always got the best players because they had the most money; they thought they truly were the greatest thing in Cooperstown; and they always managed to beat the Braves in the World Series. Watching a late 1990's World Series was like watching a rerun of Gone With the Wind, with the damn Yankees destroying Atlanta and thousands of southern baseball fans shaking their fists yelling, "With God as my witness, I'll never watch baseball again!" I viewed the New York Yankees with the same disdain I usually reserved for politicians and divorce attorneys.
Everything changed in 2001, the year I decided to spread my wings of individuality and choose my own baseball team based on something other than my father's personal preferences. That was the year right after the presidential election that went awry and almost tore our nation apart. The recounts, protests, courtroom battles, and arguments over dimpled chads, hanging chads, and pregnant chads pitted American against American in ways many of us had never before witnessed. Hatred and mistrust spread deep from the floor of our divided Senate to our homes, our churches, and our classrooms. That political battle for the presidency left America's spirit of unity in seemingly irreparable ruins.
Something else happened in 2001 that changed the hearts and minds of Americans forever. That something was September 11, the day that not only went down in infamy, but also passed it by. That was the day the impossible happened. I remember it all too well. I remember my disbelief when mother called me at work telling me the World Trade Center had been attacked. I remember huddling around the television with my coworkers wondering how New York's firemen would ever stop the flames and how those poor people on the top floors would ever get down. I can still feel that horrible, hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach when all hope of rescue came crashing down in a heap of dust, smoke, and rubble.
For a brief moment, it seemed hopelessness had won. But out of that dust, that smoke, and that rubble emerged a new America with a new sense of unity. Blacks, whites, liberals, conservatives, northerners, southerners, males, females--after September 11, we all became Americans again. We supported each other; we cried with each other; we gave blood for each other.
We emerged from that tragedy to find the fight for our freedoms far from over. Each passing day, radio commentators and news programs over-saturated both the airwaves and our minds with new death statistics, new high alerts, and new details of every aspect of our impending counter attack. Suddenly, the umpire's pre-game "Play ball!" took on a brand new meaning. "Play ball!" and forget about the dust floating around Ground Zero and the air strikes overseas. "Play ball!" and enjoy peanuts and cracker jacks, and don't worry how you'll ever get back without using an airplane. "Play ball!" and for a moment, just a moment, pretend that everything is normal again.
That year the New York Yankees played ball with more heart than they ever had before, and they made it to the World Series playoffs. It was during those playoff games that I discovered my small town prejudices had disappeared. I began turning off my father's Braves in order to watch New York's Yankees, and I found myself cheering for very team I used to despise--more than I had ever cheered for a team in my life. In my mind, if the Yankees could make it to the World Series, they could bring money to New York's collapsing economy, and somehow poetic justice would be served. Questions such as "How on earth can Andy Petitte see with his hat pulled so low?" or "Can Jorge Posada catch with that new glove?" and "Who's on first--next year?" offered temporary, blissful escape from other more somber ones that tormented my mind. "Have they found any survivors?" "Will our economy make it?" "Have you seen my husband? He worked on the hundred fifth floor of Tower Two." It made so much more sense to pray, "Dear God, please let the Yankees get a double play to stop this rally," than "Please, God, please don't let my little sister at Princeton get anthrax, please." Horrifying images of advancing dust clouds and burning people jumping out of buildings were erased that glorious moment Derek Jeter hit a home run out of the park, ending game four and keeping the Yankees' hopes alive. The Yankees battled through that World Series all the way to game seven. By the eighth inning, they were up by one, and on their shoulders rested the hopes of ten million New Yorkers and New York's newest illegitimate child.
Those hopes came crashing down in the ninth inning. That was the inning the impossible happened. The other team managed to score against Mariano Rivera, and the Yankees lost the World Series that year. However, instead of going to bed angry, I fell asleep with a new sense of excitement. A new season lay just around the corner, and I could hardly wait for the fine April day when the umpire would again yell those magical words, "Play ball!" giving the Yankees--my Yankees--another chance at the world championship.
America lost a lot that year, too. We lost three thousand of our men and women. We lost our innocence and our sense of security, but instead of letting those losses pin us down, we stepped up to the plate and began our own new season with a new set of priorities and a new love for each other. In a way, the year 2001 really was the year the impossible happened. That was the year our divided nation became the United States again. That was the year a small town girl from heart of Naples, Florida fell in love with the New York Yankees.
© M. B. Weston, 2001
Tags: September 11th, 9-11, New York Yankees, Baseball, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Petitte, Atlanta Braves, Jorge Posada, Princeton
Sunday, September 09, 2007
I’m not joking on this. Today, I actually drove through the end of the rainbow!
Most people say it’s not scientifically possible to find the end of the rainbow. These people have never lived in Florida—a state where torrential rainstorms can create the perfect environment for actually finding the rainbow’s end.
Let me explain. In Florida, you can drive down the street in the dry sun while only fifty yards away, driving rain is falling in sheets to the ground. It’s also one of the only states where you can drive through the rain and get blinded by the sun setting in front of you and also reflecting off the water on the road. (A double blind—ooh the pun of it!) Fun for hours—or fifteen minutes, the average time for one of these downpours.
Today, I was driving down the interstate toward a literal wall of rain. The sun sat low in the sky behind me and reflected off the rain in front of me, making a rainbow. As I approached the rain, the rainbow seemed to get closer, and as I entered the rain, the end of the rainbow literally reflected off the raindrops that hit my windshield. The rainbow disappeared as the rain worsened, and suddenly I could see less than 15 feet in front of me because the rain fell so hard. (And while I was going 80 miles per hour—a slightly tense moment.)
No, I did not see any leprechauns. And no, I was not under the influence of anything but Red Bull. Wait a moment…
Tags: rainbow, end of the rainbow, leprechaun, Red Bull
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Each time I sell a copy of A Prophecy Forgotten: Book I of the Elysian Chronicles, I create a potential fan, and I received enough fan e-mail and letters to know that the chances of making a fan are pretty high. I had two awesome experiences with fans at Dragon*Con.
First, I sold a book to a boy on either Friday or Saturday of Dragon*Con. He came back to my author booth on Monday and said, “Is the author here?” I said yes, and we started to talk. He told me that he came all the way down to the dealer room just to tell me that he absolutely loved the book—he had read most of it in only two or three days!
Second, a woman approached my table and asked me if I lived in Naples. It turned out that her father had read my book in one sitting and invited me to speak to his classroom! Her mom actually works for my dad. She bought a book from me and let her husband read it, then passed it on to her daughter—the woman who approached my table.
Small, small world…
Tags: DragonCon, Dragon*Con, A Prophecy Forgotten, The Elysian Chronicles
Friday, September 07, 2007
Rachel and I, over e-mail, planned our cherubian costumes for the parade. Then the three of us sat up until 2:00 in the morning in a hotel room on Friday night rolling my first chapter brochures and rubber-banding them to Smarties for the parade the next day. They also entertained me at my dealer table, Damian gave me some good selling advice, and they passed out brochures to people at the Con. These are true friends—the kind of friends who go out of their way to help you, and I can’t believe I only met them a month ago.
Tags: DragonCon, Dragon*Con
Thursday, September 06, 2007
(August 31, 2007 - Naples, FL) Naples-based author M.B.Weston is scheduled to speak to students at East Naples Middle School on Friday, September 14th, Monday, September 17th and Wednesday September 19th.
M.B. Weston, a 1994 Naples High School graduate and author of the book A Prophecy Forgotten, will speak with students about her book, what it is like to be an author, and much more. She will also be signing copies of her first book, A Prophecy Forgotten, which will be available for purchase.
Weston has a heart for children, and though her original audience for A Prophecy Forgotten was the adult reader, she found that her book resonated with younger readers as well who were excited by the fantasy world she created with undertones of good versus evil. "I’ve written since I was small, and it has been very gratifying that I am able to reach the younger readers," says Weston.
M.B.Weston is not only an award-winning writer, but also a very talented and motivating speaker. She has been scheduled as a guest speaker at many schools and events throughout Florida. One of the teachers who attended last year’s East Naples Middle School event was Pam Prochaska, a Language Arts teacher. Prochaska commented, "Her personal experience with the writing, revision, professional review, and publication of her novel offers our students a realistic look into the world of successful publication. Many students were in awe that a "real author" related her sometimes frustrating experiences in such a simplistic and succinct manner. Most importantly, they identified with her in her continuing trial and error challenge of writing and revising which students experience every day. I can't imagine a better experience for young writers to witness first-hand."
Recognizing that it is not easy to gain then keep the attention of middle schoolers, Weston’s energy and enthusiasm for sharing her writing experience is inspiring. “My students thoroughly enjoyed their special day with M.E. Weston. Her presentation was extremely well prepared and interesting for the students. It was obvious that they enjoyed it from all of the questions they asked and the positive comments they gave when I had them review the day. It is also exciting that she is a local graduate. I am looking forward to having her come back this year,” says Dottie Hendershot, another Language Arts instructor at East Naples Middle School.
Like many who enjoy the fantasy genre, Weston started reading it as an adolescent. She started off with fairytales, then Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. She currently enjoys reading works by Clancy, Grisham, and of course, Rowling. She enjoys making up characters and striving to give them lives that readers will care about knowing. “My goal is to create a world that people want to visit again and again and characters that readers constantly want to read about. People want to go back to Middle Earth, Narnia, and Hogwarts. I want readers to feel the same way about Elysia.”
Weston broke into print in November 2004 when her poem, "Message in a Bottle," was published in the Arizona Literary Magazine. Two years later, she landed her first book contract with Archebooks Publishing, Inc. She currently speaks to middle school and high school students about writing and getting published, and she leads the Young Writer’s of Naples - a chapter of the Florida Writers’ Association for teenage authors. “The key to writing fantasy is to make it magical, yet believable. Too much of either can ruin the story. These workshops are designed to help find the balance between the ordinary and the extraordinary,” says Weston.
Available now, A Prophecy Forgotten (ISBN-10: I-59507-I69-5; ISBN-13: 978-159507-169-9) is the first in the Elysian Chronicles trilogy It’s a Tolkein-meets-Clancy fantasy novel about guardian angel warfare and treason that embodies the themes of faith, hope and living according to your purpose through this fantasy fiction story. Her next book, Out of the Shadows: Book II of the Elysian Chronicles, will be available in December 2007.
Weston is also available for book signings and speaking engagements along with youth and adult writing workshops. She can be reached at 239-821-3769, by email at email@example.com, and her website is www.elysianchronicles.com.
Tags: M. B. Weston, A Prophecy Forgotten, Out of the Shadows, The Elysian Chronicles, J. R. R. Tolkien, Tom Clancy
Tags: A Prophecy Forgotten, The Elysian Chronicles, Author Island
Would you dress up like your heroine and walk down the streets of Atlanta throwing candy attached to your first chapter brochure at the crowd? How about handing out free e-books? And what if your character just happened to be a cherubian (a guardian angel) dressed in a black breastplate and tunic, black boots, and a maroon kilt?
Ah yes, the desire to promote my books has overcome my inhibitions. My friend, Rachel, and I dressed up as Gabriella and joined the Dragon*Con Parade with Sandy Lender, and we marched down the streets of Atlanta in full costume. I threw candy attached to the first chapter of A Prophecy Forgotten: Book I of the Elysian Chronicles to the crowds, and when we ran out of candy, we asked the crowds who liked to read, and handed those who answered cd’s. I have no idea if it worked or not… I had a great time marching behind all the people dressed as Harry Potter.
Rachel, Me, and Sandy in costume, ready to astound future fans....
Rachel & me, covering both sides of the street.
Here are a few things I learned about making costumes and marching in a parade.
1. Making your own wings takes forever—especially when you craft them with chicken wire, cover them with plaster, paint them, and feather them.
2. Plaster wings are stinking heavy. I had to attach them with a metal harness that attached over my shoulders. My collarbones will never feel the same.
3. No one makes plastic breastplates made for women. I had to buy a Roman breastplate (see below), cut it, and paint it.
4. Marching down the streets of Atlanta in heeled boots is painful.
5. If you make really good wings, everyone will want to take your picture.
Below, I have some more pictures…
The breastplates before I got a hold of them (tee hee)
Here are the be breastplates for scale... (Go Yanks!)
I took feathers from about 5 feather dusters and divided them by size and color.
This is the skeleton--the wires I used to shape the wings.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
From Friday until Monday, I attended Dragon*Con as a guest author and sold my novel, A Prophecy Forgotten: Book I of the Elysian Chronicles, down in the Hilton’s basement. Dragon*Con is the biggest Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Gaming/Anime/LARP festival in America, and I must say it was amazing.
First, I drove to my author friend, Tracy Akers’s house in Dade City, FL on Thursday night. That took some doing because Out of the Shadows: Book II of the Elysian Chronicles was due to ArcheBooks the next day. I finished the manuscript at 7:00pm on Thursday, sent it to my agent, and then skedaddled out the door. I arrived at Tracy’s at 11:00 PM. (At this point, I had had only 8 hours of sleep in 3 days.)
We woke up at 4:00 to drive to Atlanta, GA. (Total sleep: 3 hrs after my shower). Then we set up our tables in the dealer room, and ran around trying to get settled. Sandy Lender, the other author who shared a table with us arrived around 4:00. For four days straight, we sold books. Then Sandy flew home on Monday (smart woman), and Tracy and I drove home on Tuesday. Nine hour drive for me. Ouch!
For the next week—or two, depending—I’m going to post about my experiences at Dragon*Con, so keep checking the blog!
Tags: DragonCon, Dragon*Con, A Prophecy Forgotten, The Elysian Chronicles, Tracy Akers, Sandy Lender