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VBT: Don’t Be Like Yabba Dooba!

VBT: Don't Be Like Yabba Dooba!

      Aloha, friends! Welcome to Week Three of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
      This week’s scheduled guest is a fantastic, inspirational and frankly, totally bad-ass, writer whose book “Deaf Isn’t Dumb” is a memoir guaranteed to make you think twice about what it means to be different in a world that says one thing, but does another.
      Without further ado… Tara Chevrestt!

Deaf Isn't Dumb, by Tara Chevrestt      For this post, I’m going to have myself a good rant…about bloggers. LOL. No, seriously. Before I became an author, I was a reviewer and a book blogger. When an author wanted to do an interview with me, I didn’t just throw a random questionnaire at them, but took the time to read their book and ask them questions based on it. I still do this.
      What majority of other bloggers do: throw a random questionnaire at me. And trust me, Mookie Dookie’s blog asks me the same questions as Yabba Dooba’s blog. I can just copy and paste my answers from one blog to the next. (And if anyone else asks me about my writing habits, I’m going to have a conniption.) When the time comes for me to post a link to the interview on Facebook, I wince. It’s no wonder people have quit reading my posts. It’s the same stuff over and over.
      I recently had an experience that made me just say, “No more blog interviews!” I gave my memoir, Deaf Isn’t Dumb, to a blogger in hopes they would ask me relevant questions. Take note of that title. Deaf Isn’t Dumb. I’m deaf.
      Guess what they asked me… Do you listen to music while you write?
      *head desk* You certainly read my book, didn’t you? LOL.
      And that ends my rant. Take care with your questionnaires. Authors like to feel that you are genuinely interested in them, and don’t “fake” reading books. But to answer the question I am sick to death of: No, I don’t listen to music while I write. Am I incapable? Not really. I can play music directly into my hearing aid, but trust me, it’s not easy; it takes all my concentration to hear and distinguish the few sounds (bass) that my eardrum can catch. Deaf isn’t dumb, but neither is Deaf jamming to tunes. LOL
      Find more about Deaf Isn’t Dumb here.
Tara Chevrestt      Tara Chevrestt is a deaf woman, former aviation mechanic, writer, and an editor. She is most passionate about planes, motorcycles, dogs, and above all, reading. That led to her love of writing. Between her writing and her editing, which allows her to be home with her little canine kids, she believes she has the greatest job in the world. She is very happily married.
      Tara also writes as Sonia Hightower. Sonia writes the racy stuff and argues that she was here first. She just wasn’t allowed to be unleashed until the last year.
      While Tara and Sonia continue to fight over the laptop and debate who writes the next book, you can find buy links, blurbs, and other fun bits on their website or their Facebook page.

Guest Post: Scott Seldon

Guest Post: Scott Seldon

      Good morning world! Welcome to Week Two of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
      This week’s scheduled guest is a rockin’ sci-fi writer and the author of two books available at his Smashwords page, “Well of Dreams”, a novel, and “Edge of Hyperspace”, a collection of short stories.
      Check out his musings about music and writing below and try not to miss your usual “Tuesday’s Tunes” post too much. Hah!
      Without further ado… Scott Seldon!

      When I was editing my book, Well of Dreams, a year ago, I found the perfect music that set the mood, Daft Punk’s score for Tron: Legacy. It is dark, energetic, and beautiful. I played it while I read and edited and it just felt perfect.

      I’ve been using existing music to accompany my book reading for most of my life. I find certain albums that I feel perfectly fit the book and then I put them on repeat as I read. Vangelis’ Direct for Asimov’s Robin/Foundation series is a particular favorite. I find that like the musical score for a movie, having music when I read just sets the mood perfect.

      However it is a different story when I’m writing. What I enjoy listening to while reading makes for horrible writing music. I have to turn up the energy a few notches. While I prefer instrumental music to accompany my reading, my writing music mostly has lyrics. When I read I turn to Vangelis, Delerium, John Williams, James Horner, Enya, David Arkenstone, and Keiko Matsui, but when I write, it is usually Lady Gaga, Madonna, Nadia Ali, Slade, Gregorian, or Comcast’s Music Choice Jazz. To write to it, it has to have energy, power, and never be something I could fall asleep to. For one thing, I need it to drown out the outside world. I use it as a wall to block out things and go into my writing space.

      For Well of Dreams, there really wasn’t any particular piece of music that stood out when I was writing. When I was reading it, the tracks Overture and Rinzler really seems to hit a chord. Rinzler really seemed to nail my main character, Ven Zaran. It is especially appropriate when you consider who Rinzler is in Tron: Legacy and Ven Zaran’s troubled past. Rinzler’s story is pretty straight forward. I prefer more complex characters and Ven is definitely that. I’m still discovering more about him and I’ve been writing about him for nearly 10 years. That track just seems to fit him musically. It starts simple and the music grows in complexity and builds, similar to the way Ven’s background grows more complex and as Well of Dreams progresses until in the end, the story climaxes and resolves.

I have Ven’s next tale penned and will almost certainly be putting on the Tron: Legacy as it pull it out again to do the final proof edits. I wonder which track will fit with Ven’s encounter with the Pirates of I’ab. I’d challenge the readers and writers out there who listen to music in conjunction with their novels, to think of what music they connect with different books and characters.

Scott SeldonScott Seldon lives with his family in Colorado and works as an IT administrator. Visit his website for the latest updates and to find where his books are sold.

VBT: Master Koda Spills Her Guts

VBT: Master Koda Spills Her Guts

      Good morning world! Today is the opening day of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT! Unfortunately, our scheduled guest was not able to appear due to technical difficulties, but the illustrious KD Emerson (that’s right, Master Koda herself!) has stepped up to fulfill the lead-off guest post here at How lucky am I?
      Without further ado… KD Emerson!

I got started writing when my mom put a pencil in my hand and told me I had to learn the ABC’s. Those first lessons where a real riot. My A’s looked like broken teepees and my Z’s looked like something Mario would have a heyday finding his way through. But Mom stuck it out (much to her later dismay) and soon I was Dick and Jane-ing to beat the band (those were early readers back in the caveman era).

Something caught fire in my soul and I just had to tell stories. Maybe that means I am a first rate liar. I prefer to think of it as having a great creative mind, but whatever the gift of writing is – it has always been my greatest joy and deepest sorrow.

I “published” my first “book” in first grade after spending the previous summer writing and re-writing the blessed tomb. Every time I added a character or something of interest I would changed the title, by the time I finished the title went something like this The Magic Sword, the Boys, the Cave and Sam the Talking Dog. Funny how my upcoming novel features a cave. There must be a deep and meaningful symbol there somewhere. My spelling was something straight out of an editor’s worst nightmare. Sam (the talking dog) braked more often than barked and my mother was ready to string me up on the back porch if I asked her how to spell went one more time.

That summer was challenging for my parents who where honest, hard-working Americans who thought they had bred straight forward children who played straight forward games and didn’t stray too far from the practical life they strived to give us. That was, until they were blessed with me. The summer of “Kim’s Great Novel” was to prove them wrong. They were faced with a child who took herself far too seriously in the writing of the Next Great American Novel. If my older sister ran in with her friends I chased them out with the deadly end of my pencil (keep in mind she was 9 years older than me). No one was allowed within five feet of my desk which was placed smack in the middle of the living room. The TV was off limits before 6pm; my father became my administrative assistant and took messages from my playmates when they came to the door.

“Can Kim play?”

“She’s writing.”

Can you imagine a child that wanted to sit in front of a desk when there were water fights to be had outside? There is something just wrong with that picture.

I am relieved to say I chucked my ego years ago and no longer pose as a know-it-all, self centered “artiste”.

As for me, I am just a writer who loves to write and entertain people. Hope you enjoyed reading. I would love to hear from you. What makes you tick? What is one of your favorite stories about your childhood?
Author, KD Emerson was born (or is that hatched) several years ago. We won’t go into how long it has been because she has this fantasy that she is still a teenager. She has a passion for the written word and assisting other writers in becoming the best they can be. She also loves to promote others and cheer them on to victory. You can find her at and on Facebook at

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Leaving on a Jet Plane

      That’s right folks! The TTC VBT, in conjunction with MasterKoda, kicks off tomorrow, May 27th, 2012! This blog tour runs for sixteen weeks – can you believe it? This summer will be featuring a whole slew of amazing, talented folk and – lucky me – those same wonderful folk will be letting me guest post on their blogs.
      I’m one psyched Tangerine, let me tell you!
      To start the journey, I will be guest posting at jenniferstarks, the lovely blog belonging to Jennifer Starks – she of such books as “Messy Death” and the forthcoming “Prowling for Demons”. I feel so fortunate that she is letting little ol’ Work-in-Progress-Penelope post on her blog. So please, stop by and check out her blog and my guest post (link TBD! Update! Link here: WHEE!).
      And hopefully tomorrow, in lieu of a new Snippet, we will be featuring the first ever guest post, written by Khloe Kamalis, author of “V.A.M.P.S. ~ ATL ~ The Young Immortals ~ A Southern Gothic Trilogy” which was just released in April! I’ve got that one on my “To Be Read” list, for sure!
      Anyway – its going to be an exciting summer here at Aside from the awesome Blog Tour, glittering guest stars, and traipsing all over the web – Jack and I are doing Camp NaNoWriMo in June PLUS the release date for my WIP, Incandescence is currently slated for the end of August! Whee!
      Life just doesn’t get any better than this. Lots of great things on the horizon, good friends, and Cheesecake in the refrigerator for ‘cheat’ day!

Love & Rainbows,

MasterKoda Conference!

MasterKoda Conference!

      Tomorrow & Thursday are big days for one of the most supportive, talented, all-around amazing group of writers I have ever been involved with – the webmistress & FB-group-founder, Kim Mutch Emerson is running an absolutely epic online writer’s conference and (as I reported previously) yours truly is going to attend.
      Many of the topics are things I have long been wondering about – how to blog more effectively, using Twitter to build your fanbase (or you know, at all, tee-hee), editing your novel, and so much more. I suspect that if this conference is a success, which I know it will be, there will be future installments. If so – I urge you strongly to find a way to attend. In fact, if I am still in a position to do so when the next one comes around, I will be paying it forward, and raffling off a pass the way the lovely Catrina did for me!
      So, keep your eye on (and join MasterKoda on Facebook) for next time the Koda Conference comes around – you definitely want to be there if you’re a writer navigating the murky waters of publication in these crazy modern days!

Love & Rainbows (and future give-aways!),

Tangerine Tango

      2012 is the year of Tangerine Tango, according to the folks at Pantone. Thus, it is my year. Wait – follow me here. You see, my favorite color is orange. Has been for many years. Not Halloween orange, but a more subtle, sunny… tangerine-y hue. Whether this came about before or after an old, dear friend gave me a nickname that involved tangerines, I cannot recall. Still, orange has become a sort of…trademark of mine. I wear a lot of it, I painted the laundry room in our old house a great shade of it, I drove an orange car in High School, and my nails – usually painted orange. When you see orange – if you know me, you might just think of me. Anyway…

Tangerine Tango

Ooh. Sexy, right? 😉

      When I first read the blurb of an article about the Color of the Year back in December, I was not expecting it to be a life-changing moment. Frankly, I’d seen them before (2008 was a gorgeous, deep indigo blue, I think, and 2011 was a vivid pink) and never much cared beyond the most basic ‘Gee, that’s pretty’ thought. Then I saw it.
      And everything changed.
      Okay, yes. Its silly. I know the choice those Pantone people made was based on all manner of data that had nothing to do with me, fate, or destiny. Yet when I saw it – I thought, “Yes! Yes. 2012 will be the year of the Tangerine Tango! And I’m just the Tangerine to do it!”
      I made a decision and I’ve been acting on it ever since. I am working daily to make this year the best ever. To see my lifelong dreams come to fruition. To take that leap of faith and put my work out there for the world (or… some small part of it) to read. To change my life in positive ways. To work toward my goals. To stop procrastinating in both my personal and professional life.
      Some of these broad strokes of change have been simple – I stopped biting my nails in January (a habit I’ve been trying to break since I was a kid). I gave up potato chips (my biggest food-related weakness…okay, other than Cheesecake) three weeks ago. I’ve downloaded some software to continue studying a foreign language in my spare time.
      Some of them have been more complicated. I took up a challenge issued by a friend and fellow writer, Sian Young and have been writing 1500 words every day this month. I pledged to finish my WIP, Incandescence, and did! I’ve now vowed to complete the second draft and give it to beta readers. All of these in service of my overriding goal, to get my work published.
      I have dreamt of that since I was seven years old and read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books. I have feared failure, and success, and I have allowed it to hold me back. I have hidden in a corner, afraid to show my face, for years – worried that I will never be good enough. Well no more, not in 2012. Nobody puts P.P. in a corner!
      In addition to really committing myself to various changes and goals, setting deadlines and all that jazz, I’ve joined several writing communities on Facebook and have been meeting (and learning from) some amazing, talented folk. One such group is called I don’t know that I’ve contributed much there just yet, but man oh man, I have learned a lot. For instance, using Twitter at last (follow me – @PP_TheWriter!). The amazing blogs the members put out inspired me to get back into blogging after several years of silence. I am already indebted to the members for their wit, their advice, their ideas, and their incredible support.
      The indefatigable leader, Kim Mutch Emerson of, is putting on an informative online writer’s conference next week (Check it out here) and I kept clicking back to the page. I really wanted to sign up, but after a bout with the flu that forced both myself and my fiancé to miss a couple days of work… it seemed like we just would not be able to swing it. Then, a generous Koda member ran a brief ‘contest’ to win a pass to the conference and by some providence – yours truly got in before the buzzer and scored. I am so excited, and I cannot thank Catrina enough for her benevolent nature!
      No, the whole point of this post was not to brag, but to celebrate! Maybe there is no such thing as fate or destiny – I’m not going to make that call. But sometimes, I think, when you really put your mind into making positive change, into moving forward, into materializing your dreams and accomplishing your goals, the universe aligns itself to help you along.
      So even if you’re not a fan of tangerine (the color, or the fruit), maybe its time to take stock of what you really want out of life and make 2012 your year.

Love & Rainbows,