SEO Grade

Amber Stults had a link from her site that would grade your website’s SEO friendliness. I was curious so I checked mine. I was pleased with the results and also enjoyed the suggestions for improving my SEO ratings.

If you’re interested in plugging your site in you can do it at .  Since the code for the badge given to me by that site is only working on select browsers, I’ll also just come out and say, my grade was 89. Did you beat me? 🙂

The Legendary and Auction for Cat

Help Catherynne M. Valente

My auction for ad space on Niteblade, a copy of Sister Margaret and a copy of Lost Innocence ends at midnight tomorrow. Right now it has one bid on it (thank you Greg) for $5. Surely we can do better than that? The auction is here please check it out.

In other news, my short story “How It’s Supposed To Be” is up at The Legendary. Sadly, this story was inspired by a very similar situation that happened here in Edmonton not so very long ago.

Wasps and Shadows

Wasps by our front door

Every year wasps come and build a nest by our front door and every year we knock it down. The nests are never in the same spot, but always in the same general area. They are persistent. If they would just build the nest somewhere out of the way we’d probably leave them alone but it’s a safety hazard to have a wasp nest right by your front door. Ya know, because people need to walk there. That means we don’t really have much choice but to destroy it.

I’m especially sympathetic to the wasps today, because I can relate to them. They keep buzzing around, building nests and having them knocked down and they are going to keep doing that until they find the perfect spot. One where we can leave them in peace and co-exist. I keep writing and revising SHADOWS trying to get it to that perfect spot. One where a reader will be hooked from the first paragraph, devour it in one sitting and ask for more.

I suspect both the wasps and I have a lot more work in our future.

I like SHADOWS’ current incarnation. I like it a lot but I think I’m going to rewrite it again. I received my critique of the first two chapters back from Jim C. Hines and it was fantastic. He showed me the parts that worked and what didn’t and gave me some suggestions for improvement. After thinking them over and really pondering the middle of the story, I think I can tell a better tale if I start from scratch.

I have a couple things to clear off my plate here first (a paper to write for school, a final exam on the 26th, that sort of thing) and then I’m going to start over. My plan is to really map out the plot, add a lot more detail to it and then start writing about July 13th. Why so long away, you ask? Well, I will be doing the outline thing and then I’ll be on vacation in San Francisco from July 5th to 12th. I think I’d be deceiving myself to think I’ll be doing any work there LoL

So yes, once the 13th comes I will be back to work on SHADOWS. Unfortunately for the wasps, they’ll be rebuilding a lot sooner than that.

*It’s probably not a good thing that it took me nine shots to get a picture of their nest that I liked, is it? LOL

Funny Story…

Funny story.

Mondays I meet with Cindy and BD and we critique each other’s work. It’s awesome. Anyway, this Monday once the meeting was pretty much over and we were just packing up and getting ready to go I glanced down at my ipod and caught the date staring up at me from it.

“Oh crap!” I said.

BD started laughing right away but Cindy looked a bit puzzled.

“How’d it get to be the 15th already?” I asked, dumbfounded.

“Got a newsletter you need to do?” BD asked, still laughing.

“Erm, that is…” I muttered before pointing out the window. “Look! Sparkly!”

Dani with a Sparkler
Dani with a Sparkler

Okay…I just made up the ‘Look sparkly’ part, but the rest was true. Here are a couple more pictures to distract you while I attempt to write a newsletter before it gets any more overdue.

Indiana hangingo out on the windowsill
Indiana hanging out on the windowsill
Indiana spots a bird
Indiana spots a bird

I <3 my camera. For now, back to work on the newsletter…

A Helping Hand

Help Catherynne M. Valente

I don’t actually know [info]yuki_onna or [info]justbeast . I’ve never read any of Catherynne’s work and they aren’t on my friends list. That being said, when I read about their troubles I wanted to help. So I’m donating ad space on Niteblade, a copy of Lost Innocence and a copy of Sister Margaret to the auction to raise some money for them.

My auction is here
. Please stop by and place a bid. For $5 you could win two great things to read and ad space on Niteblade Magazine. Plus, you’ll be help some people who really need it. If you can think of something else I could throw in on the auction to make it better let me know, I’m very open to suggestions.

Screenshot or it didn’t happen!


Sometimes you just gotta screenshot things. Even if they don’t actually mean anything. This is one of those times. Sister Margaret is actually tied with all these novels in that we all have five or more ratings and 100% of them are ‘great’. I’m sure this exalted status is only temporary but how could I not take a screenshot when it looks like my story has been rated higher than The Lord of the Rings? Dude, that is one of those oppourtunities that if you don’t take it you’re a fool. I’m lots of things. I hope a fool isn’t one of them.

Few Quick Things…

S.G. Browne’s novel Breathers is about sentient zombies. Can you imagine being trapped in your body while it slowly rotted around you? That’s the reality for these creatures. It’s been described as a zom-rom-com (zombie romantic comedy) and is going to be made into a movie with Fox Searchlight. Pretty sweet. Intrigued? You can win an autographed copy just by leaving a comment on/in the Of Warmth, Of Dragons issue of Niteblade. Each comment will be considered an entry into the draw, and if you buy a .pdf copy that’s 5 entries. I’m making the draw on July 1st so you’ve plenty of time to wrack up (rack up?) some entries if you’re interested.

I’d also like to say a huge thank you to anyone who bought Sister Margaret through Fictionwise and rated it there. Sister Margaret is currently the highest rated title for my publisher at Fictionwise. That is very flattering and makes me incredibly happy. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Still working on the psuedo-secret project, though it’s reached the waiting stage. I’m hopeful there won’t be too much waiting involved, but I guess time will tell. The collaborative projects I’m working on are still a going concern – one more than the other. Soon I’ll be able to share a little bit about it, but not quite yet. Sorry LOL Also working on a fun horror short story that I think has a lot of potential…more about that when it’s done 🙂

In my non-writing life things are a bit crazy this week. It’s the last week of my daughter’s dance stuff leading up to her year-end recital. That combined with things like vet appointments (for the dog, not me :-p), hair appointments (grey roots just keep on coming back…) and an upcoming visit from my parents have been keeping me busy. Once this weekend is over though, so is dance for the year. That will be a huge relief and cause a large increase in writing time. Time I’ll have to use to finish up this Women in Literature course I’m struggling through for school. Whee!

I won an auction through Brenda Novak’s auction for diabetes reseach this year for a critique by Jim C. Hines. The critique is of one short story or the first chapter of a novel. I -adore- Jim’s work and think he’s just a pretty awesome guy all round so I’m really looking forward to this critique…the problem is, I can’t decide what to send him. His usual genre is fantasy so I could send him the first chapter of Shadows, which is about as polished as I can make it at this point. His feedback would possibly help me polish it further and hopefully help me place it with an agent, or I could send him the first draft of the aforementioned fun horror short story so his critique could help guide my revisions on it and help it get placed. But it’s horror, which isn’t his primary genre.

What do you think? What would you do?

Pseudo-Secret Project

Productive again? Yay!

My focus, which has been sadly lacking since November appears to be making short appearances these days. It’s nothing fantastic and I’ve not suddenly turned into a writing machine, but I’ve been more productive than in ages.

One thing that has helped is the pseudo-secret project I’m working on these days. I’ll share more details soon…ish, but I still need to pin down a couple details first. I’m excited about it though. I’ll likely spill the beans about it on my newsletter first, but information on the blog will follow soon after.

I’m also working on two collaborative projects. Kyle Cassidy ( LJ ~ Twitter ~ Website ) recently set up a project where he paired random strangers up to work on something, anything, together. Long story short, I am working in two collaborations as a direct result. Each is hugely different from the other and I’m really enjoying them both. I feel like they are really pushing me out of the rut I’d been in and sort of forcing productivity. This is a good thing because if I do it long enough it will become a habit again LOL

Now, so long as the baseball game we’re supposed to go to tonight doesn’t get rained out, I’ll be golden. Please don’t rain. Danica has been looking forward to this all week and passed up a chance to go to a movie and a slumber party for this game. Please don’t rain…

Niteblade #8: Of Warmth, Of Dragons

Of Warmth, Of Dragons Wow. It’s issue number eight of Niteblade already. It doesn’t seem that long ago that Niteblade was just an idea I had, and I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. It seems that I can — with help from some fantastic and talented friends.

My husband Jo does the layout for the .pdf and some of the editing. He is a stickler for details and makes sure the magazine looks amazing before he sends it to me to go online. If you haven’t ever seen the .pdf you really need to. It’s phenomenal.

BD Wilson stepped in during the last issue when I was pulling out my hair and wailing “I can’t do it! I can’t do it all! I can’t deal with this hacking and the submissions and the web layout and the *insert stuff here*. I just can’t!” She took over formatting the fiction then and for this and upcoming issues did/will do all the web layout. She’s awesome and I think she did a fabulous job.

And what issue of Niteblade would be complete without the artwork of Marge Simon? I feel so lucky to have met Marge, be able to call her a friend and have her work grace the pages of Niteblade.

Put all that together with thirteen poems, thirteen short stories and two book reviews and you’ve got the newest issue of Niteblade. >> Check it out here <<

As if that weren’t enough, we’re also giving away an autographed copy of S.G. Browne’s book, BREATHERS. It’s a fantastic zombie book that I adored and which is going to be made into a movie in the not-too-distant future. To enter to win all you need to do is either purchase a copy of the June issue in .pdf or leave a comment on any of the stories, poems or reviews in the June web-based version. The details are here.

Check it out 🙂