Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Celebrating Crossing the Fifty K Mark in National Novel Writing Month

Every November, writers all over the world put their fingers to keyboards in hopes of piling up 50,000 words in thirty days. I’m one of those authors and I’m pleased to announce I completed the challenge!

But I didn’t do it alone. I was a member of From the Hearts Romance Writers Nano squad dubbed The Racing Hearts. To thank my friends and fellow writers I’d like to post some of the daily quotes our leader Wendi Sotis shared.

1. Writing is the painting of the voice! ~ Voltaire

2. But when people say, Did you always want to be a writer?
I have to say no! I always was a writer. ~ Ursula Le Guin

3. Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read.
I know of no shortcut. ~ Larry L. King

4. The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. ~ Robert Cormier

5. And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~ Sylvia Plath

6. Write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules.
Not ones that matter. ~ Neil Gaiman

7. If a story is in you, it has got to come out. ~ William Faulkner

8. The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you did not write. ~ April Young Fritz

9. Every writer I know has trouble writing. ~ Joseph Heller

10. A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others. ~ William Faulkner

11. There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. ~ Ernest Hemingway

12. The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. ~ Agatha Christie

13. In order to write you must have confidence in your own experience, that it is rich enough to write about. ~ Natalie Goldberg

Do any of these quotes ring true to you? Or do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

League of Regrettable Superheroes

by Eilis Flynn

Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History
by Jon Morris

For a quick gift for the would-be comics fan with a sense of humor, I present to you this book, The League of Regrettable Superheroes, by Jon Morris.

Everyone knows about Superman, the granddaddy of them all, and Wonder Woman, the grandmommy. But what about the super-heroes who didn’t make the headlines, the ones who slipped away from the game, the ones who were (in many cases) not well-conceived or well-executed or just plain terrible? Well, you’re going to get a taste of some of them here. In cartoonist/graphic designer Jon Morris’s book—the title might have suggested a rollicking novel. It is not; it is rollickingly funny, however—the reader is introduced and even charmed by these comic evolution leftovers, most of which were (logically) forgotten. A quick look at the heroes and heroines in question when I first picked up this book made me laugh and then protest (some of them were familiar from when I was a kid, and I remember liking them!), and then ask where certain others, some of whom always showed up in lists like these, were. (Matter-Eater Lad, I mean. But he’s a great character! Even evolutionarily. Because if your planet suddenly changed, the residents would h…well, never mind. Not the point today.)

The book is divided into comic ages—Golden Age, Silver Age, Modern Age (because Bronze Age sounded not precious metally enough? Or the concept of lessening metals alarmed someone?)—and familiar and nonfamiliar names abound. What’s amusing is that in the constant search for new twists on an old trick, some of the least likely names have been resurrected for the comics, here and now. But the ones not likely to be resurrected are the ones I found most memorable, with names like “Bozo the Iron Man.” That name alone made me laugh out loud. Or that might have been the baseball game in the background. All I know is that I had tears falling down my cheeks after I read a few of these entries.

The creators of all these Regrettables (hey, it should be the name of a bad boy band, too!) were themselves of note, including Fletcher Hanks, creator of Fantomah (a heroine who debuted the year before Wonder Woman), who disappeared from comics after three years of creating odd characters. Then there was Bob Fujitani, a Japanese/Irish-American creator who was a prolific comics artist during the 1940s, who can’t have had an easy time of things during that period (who nonetheless had an interesting and lengthy career). The names that caught my eye, both good and bad, however, had to have been those of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman himself. While they inspired the birth of an entire industry (and didn’t get much else but fame out of that), they continued to create, both together and separately, for a very long time after their teenaged enthusiasm gave us the Man from Krypton.

Interested in comic history? Read this. If nothing else, read it and think about the drive to create a piece of history. Happy holidays, and a wonderful new year!

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for 40 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at and reached at If you’re curious about her books, check out In any case, she can be reached at

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


by Eilis Flynn

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes: The Early Years; When Evil Calls; The Choice; Consequences; Volume 1 (Hostile World); Volume 2 (The Dominators); Volume 3 (The Fatal Five); Legion Lost; Great Darkness Saga
Various authors and artists
DC Comics Entertainment

Let me tell you about the graphic novels I’ve been reading this year, from time to time, in between projects. There are other graphic novels I’ve been reading (manga, actually, but I’ll tell you about those another day), but since I have a lot of Legion books near me right now, I figured I should tell you why these are memorable.

First (of course there’s a first; how else would I set the scene, aside from a literal “As you know”?), I got interested in comics and the Legion in particular when I was a teenager. From then on I read them voraciously, got in contact with others of a similar comic persuasion (by mail; these were years long before the Internet, my children), wrote letters to the editors of the comic books, even sold a few stories, and worked at a comic company for a short while. Let me sum all this up by saying I was intrigued. Of particular interest to me were the stories about the Legion of Super-Heroes.

The Legion was first introduced in the late 1950s, about a group of three teenagers with amazing powers from the 30th century inviting Superboy to join their club. The stories about their adventures that ran in the 1960s had a particular cachet because a number of the most memorable were written by a teenaged boy named Jim Shooter, often inspired by whatever he was studying in junior high and later high school. Stories by a teenager about teenagers! These were stories about Superboy and his pals when he went into the 30th century, teenaged heroes with names like Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy and Brainiac 5 and Matter-Eater Lad. (Yes, Matter-Eater Lad, often named as one of the most ludicrously titled. But logical. Again, a topic for another day.)

Later on, I found out that there were other readers who also found them of interest, one of whom I married (yes, dear reader). To this day, I count many as friends. I stopped reading comics after a few years because other matters took precedence (making a steady living, among others), but I kept the Legion close to my heart. (Considering by then I was married to someone who could cite issue number and other details of the early Legion stories, it was always going to stick around.) The Legion kept popping up in DC books in various forms, and even though Marvel was getting accolades for their group and teen books (do the Avengers and the X-Men strike a chord?), the Legion were generally mocked (Matter-Eater Lad often mentioned in the mockery).

Skip to the present day (finally! You say). The Legion has changed a lot since I first read them back in the 1960s. They’ve gotten older, they’ve lost members (the team even has a hall of fallen heroes), they’ve gone through turmoil, all reflecting not only their readership but the turmoil and complexity of the world and society. I liked a lot of the storylines (a lot of it could have used blunt editing, frankly, but there’s a reason I wouldn’t work there), a lot of the art worked while a lot didn’t (pretty pictures don’t tell a story), but there was enough that I kept reading.

Of particular interest was the storyline about a xenophobic character named Earth-Man who’s turned down for membership to the Legion, and in retaliation, he builds up another super-hero society and attempts to destroy the Legion. He calls himself as Earth-Man because he views the Legionnaires not from Earth to be an infection, a detriment to the world, and becomes a terrorist. (I told you it reflects modern society.) He’s foiled by the Legion, goes to jail—but in a twist, he’s forced to join the Legion, even as he keeps in touch with his xenophobic terrorist allies, plotting to kill the Legion and its offworlder components. He doesn’t want to be there; the feeling is mutual. How he changes made for interesting reading (along the way, he sleeps with a blue-skinned Legionnaire, so yes, he does have to change). In all, I found it worth reading.

(Matter-Eater Lad? His world and everything in it was poisoned, so to survive the people had to adapt to eat every- and anything. See? Very logical!)

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for 40 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at and reached at If you’re curious about her books, check out In any case, she can be reached at

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Great Beginnings and NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month started November 1st, just days ago. It’s thirty days of hard work where authors all around the world hammer out 1, 667 words a day, in hopes of finishing the month with a novel that’s 50,000 words.

I’m one of those hopeful writers. I love beginning a new story. It fills me with hope. There are so many things might happen and so many characters I’ve yet to meet.

Do you like beginnings? Do they intrigue you? Or are new starts hard? Here are thirteen illustrious thinkers’ thoughts. Which ones ring true to you?

1. And suddenly you know: It's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings. ~ Meister Eckhart
2. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. ~ Lao Tzu

3. Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. ~ Martin Luther King
4. Remember tonight... for it is the beginning of always. ~ Dante Alighieri
5. Catherine Land liked the beginnings of things. The pure white possibility of the empty room, the first kiss, the first swipe at larceny.  ~ Robert Goolrick
6. Beginnings are sudden, but also insidious. They creep up on you sideways, they keep to the shadows, they lurk unrecognized. Then, later, they spring. ~ Margaret Atwood
7. Beginnings are always messy. ~ John Galsworthy
8. I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end. (Jo March) ~ Louisa May Alcott
9. Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet? ~L.M. Montgomery
10. Their eyes met. It had begun. They had begun. ~Alexandra Potter
11. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. ~ Seneca
12. All great ideas and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. ~ Albert Camus
13. The beginnings of all things are small. ~ Cicero

Do you have a favorite quote about beginnings? Please share.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Power of Friends

Ever feel like you’re all alone? Like you have to do everything yourself? A lot of writers do, but that’s not my friend, Barbara M. Britton’s, experience. She’s a good friend and a gifted writer, who knows how important writing buddies, critique partners and being part of groups, chapters and organizations can be. Here’s what she has to say--

One of the best pieces of advice I received when I first started writing was to join a professional organization. I am so glad that one of the first organizations I joined was RWA, Romance Writers of America, and subsequently I joined their local chapter WisRWA-Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. That’s where I met Mia many years ago. Yay!

I met my critique partner(CP). Betsy, through WisRWA and she has been my CP through four books now. Mia and several of my WisRWA pals made up my launch team for Providence. One lone person tweeting in today’s social media world just doesn’t cut it. You need a team of tweeters and Facebook sharers.

WisRWA was instrumental in my book deal. I received an e-mail from my fiend Liz S. (we have several Lizzes in WisRWA). She e-mailed me and wondered if I was doing Pitch Wars because an author wanted to mentor a pre-pubbed writer writing Bible-themed YA (Young Adult). I knew nothing about Pitch Wars. But Liz had my back and she knew what I wrote.
Pitch Wars is a mentoring program and I was chosen by New Adult author Molly Lee. Molly and I tweaked Providence, and it happened that Molly had another mentee who was an acquiring editor for Pelican Book Group. The rest they say is history. Pelican contracted my debut novel, and they contracted my second book which will be out this spring--“Building Benjamin: Naomi’s Journey.” So being involved in a professional writing organization has been a tremendous help to me.
I mentioned above that I was writing Bible-themed YA. That genre doesn’t actually exist. If you walk into the teen section of a bookstore, you won’t find any Bible characters there. Sad, but true. My novel was placed in Pelican’s adult line for action and adventure, Harbourlight Books. But I still tackle a first love, a first kiss, and dealing with parents. Here's the blurb--

As the sole daughter of the chief priest, Hannah is publicly shamed when the prophet of Israel refuses to heal her.
Determined to restore her family’s honor, Hannah escapes Jerusalem in hopes of finding the prophet and convincing him to heal her deformities. Gilead, a young Hebrew guard sympathetic to her plight, willingly accompanies her. On their way, they are captured by a band of raiders.
Hannah is forced to serve in the household of the commander of the Aramean army, an officer who is in need of healing himself. Meanwhile Gilead is being used as sword practice for the Aramean soldiers.
Hannah must act fast to save Gilead and herself. But survival means coaxing the prophet of Israel to heal an enemy commander.

Hannah’s story came from the Bible. I had finished teaching a chapel series on young people in the Bible who did brave things and I wondered what happened to the confident and outspoken servant girl in II Kings 5. The captured servant girl became my Hannah, and of course, I had to give her a love interest and a happily-ever-after.

I hope you enjoy my Biblical fiction as much as I enjoy writing it. Thanks for having me on your blog today Brenda. We have traveled this writing journey together for several years and now we both have books coming out. What a blessing!

Barbara M. Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb kicks off her Tribes of Israel series in October with the release of “Providence: Hannah’s Journey.” Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America.

If you'd like to find out more about Barb or her new release Providence, you can visit any of these links.
Book Trailer

If you'd like to purchase Providence, you can use these links. Amazon  B&N  or Pelican

Book of Yokai

Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore
by Michael Dylan Foster

Those of you who know me know that I co-present a series of workshops looking at myths and legends around the world and how each changes depending on region (for those curious, it’s the “Silk Road and Beyond” workshops, looking at dragons, vampires, werewolves/shapeshifters, angels, demons, ghosts, bigfeet, and even faeries, with “The Seven Seas” entry looking at water myths and creatures). The challenge on occasion has been finding reliable sources of information that doesn’t dip into someone’s gaming lore or comics or some such, all of which are inspired by but doesn’t necessarily adhere to the traditional lore. Fortunately, between my co-presenter Jacquie Rogers and me, we managed to find clean sources.

And only after all those workshops we scrimped and scraped for data did I discover this work. Timing is everything, and I don’t got it! But just in case this can help you, I’ll tell you about Michael Dylan Foster’s book. According to his bio, Foster is an associate professor of East Asian folklore at Indiana University. So he’s got academic chops in the topic (and I am so jealous!). He observes that the Japanese tend to hold their myths and lore closer to their lives than other cultures do, part of their everyday lives, so that in itself shapes the culture.

Foster dives into detail about the differences between two similar examples of folklore, separated by regional differences; considering that Japan isn’t that big a country, it’s remarkable the variations you can suss out if you look, and Foster looks. If you find yourself forgetting the great variations of nature and culture, this book will give you a great big honking reminder. A fun read overall. Highly recommended!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

It’s September. Soon leaves will lose their green and fall. It’s inevitable, possibly as inevitable as people falling in love. In observation of these miraculous occurrences, I’d like to share thirteen quotes.

1.You can’t blame gravity for falling in love. ~ Albert Einstein
2. The half-life of love is forever. ~Junot Diaz
3. We never get enough of falling in love and believing in love. ~ Shemar Moore
4. All love stories are tales of beginnings. When we talk about falling in love, we go to the beginning, to pinpoint the moment of freefall. ~ Meghan O’ Rourke
5. This thing about you that you think is your flaw – it’s the reason I’m falling in love with you. ~ Colleen Hoover
6. You will always fall in love, and it will always be like having your throat cut, just that fast. ~ Catherynne M. Valente
7. Don’t you be so nice to me; I fall in love so easily. ~ Waylon Jennings
8. Nobody is perfect until you fall in love with them. ~ Unknown
9. Don’t fall in love; rise with it. ~ Amit Abraham
10. A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. ~ Mignon McLaughlin
11. You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spirt of the fact they’re not. ~ Jodi Picoult
12. Never say love is “like” anything… it isn’t. ~ Michael Chabon
13. I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once. ~ John Green

How would you describe falling in love? Do you have a favorite quote about it? Please share and Happy Fall!