Friday, December 31, 2010

Didn't get a Kindle for Christmas? Have I got a tip for you!

I read a post recently where someone was expressing dismay at not being able to read a book because it was available only in Kindle format.

I knew that there are free Kindle apps available for the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android because I use one on my iPod Touch. I didn't know if she had any of those devices, but I thought it was worth a shot. Being a good netizen, I looked up the web address so I could tell her where to find them.

Surprise! There are also free programs available for the Windows PC and Mac! Check it out:

Free Kindle Reading Apps

Oh, and if you're looking for a good read for your new Kindle application, both of my books are available :-D

Darksome Thirst

The Old Power Returns



Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Using Local Settings in Works of Horror

I will be joining authors Daniel G. Keohane (Solomon's Grave) and Tracy Carbone (The Man of Mystery Hill) for a reading, signing, anda panel discussion on using local settings in their works of horror. (My novels are set in a thinly-disguised Framingham, Boston, and Brighton, Massachusetts.)

This event is for the West Boylston (Massachusetts) Arts Foundation, which is celebrating Edgar Allan Poe's birthday.

All are welcome, and attendance is free.

For directions, visit

Learn more about the WBAF at

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Staying on track with writing

During my writing session this morning, I discovered a few things I didn't know about Microsoft Word 2007:

To hide text, select it and then press Ctrl-Shift-h.
Hidden text isn't counted in word count.

That's good news for me because it means that I can write myself notes at the beginning of each scene, make the text hidden, and still have a good idea of how many words I've actually got.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Panels at Albacon - Update

Albacon begins this Friday and I've been so busy with other things that I didn't get a chance to update my blog regarding the panels. I've dropped out of one and joined another, and was added to another one I didn't know about. I'm really pleased with the programming. All of it sounds fun, interesting, and worthwhile.

Albacon is being held
October 8-10, 2010 at the Best Western Sovereign Hotel, 1228 Western Ave., Albany, NY 12203

Registration is still open and there are still rooms available at $86/night, single or double occupancy. (A sign of the economy, I guess.) There is also a FREE shuttle from the airport, train, or bus station. See for details on getting the rate and the shuttle.

Here's my schedule as it stands now, with a short description of the panels and a list of the panelists.


4 pm
Promotion on a Low Budget

What are the secrets to promotion that doesn't break the bank, but gets your name out there where it matters.

Alexandre, Price (M), Johnson, Kempe, Westfield


12 noon
Vampires: Sparkling or Bloody?

Vampires: rotting corpses who feed on human vitality or dreamy sparkly beautiful mopey demi-gods? Discuss.
Arthen, Crowley, Darvill, Kessler (M), Pinto, Westfield

1 pm
Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading

Arthen, Kempe, Laity, Rogow, Westfield

eBooks and eReaders

Ebooks are outselling hardcovers: the future is here! What're the best ereaders--and can you sign them somehow?
D'Arc, Kempe, S Miller, Roman, (M) Westfield

11 pm
Steamy Romance Reading

The stories don't have to be scorching, but it helps! This is a 18+ event. Attendees will have the chance to win some swag thanks to Authors After Dark.
Alexandre, Arthen, Crowley, D'Arc, Darvill, Jamison, Kempe, Lynne, Marlowe, Price, Westfield

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mentioned on the Out of the Coffin podcast

About a week and a half ago, I was listening to Epsiode 61 of the Out of the Coffin podcast on the way to work. Shortly after the intro, I heard host Dan Shaurette say, "I just finished reading Darksome Thirst by Morven Westfield" - he loved it!

Talk about a way to start the day! Writing can be such a struggle sometimes, but those little moments when someone praises your work, when someone gets it, those moments are priceless.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Panels at Albacon

I just saw a preliminary list of the panels for Albacon, being held October 8-10, 2010 in Albany, New York.

I'm going to be participating in the following panels/events. This schedule is still subject to change, but if it changes, I'll post a correction here.

Friday, noon
Paranormal Romance: the Hottest Genre

Friday, 5 pm
General Signing with Workshop Authors

Saturday, noon
Vampires: Sparkling or Bloody?

Saturday, 1 pm
Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading

Update: I've just agreed to another panel, which should be exciting:

Saturday, 2 pm
eBooks and eReaders

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Book Review: Dead to the World, by Charlaine Harris

Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse, #4) Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another good, rollicking Stackhouse mystery. This book in the series features Eric more than Bill, so if you're an Eric fan, you'll love it. (Count me in that category.)

As a writer who has witch and Wiccan characters in my own novels, I love the way Harris portrays witches and Wiccans in hers. There are good, there are bad, and in her world, witches and Wiccans are different. As someone with a bad memory and a long time between books, I love the way Harris gently fills in backstory. Though she's probably doing it for new readers, I've found it immensely helpful.

If you're just familiar with the True Blood TV series, you should read the books, too. One does not spoil the other. They combine to give a rich view of the happenings in Bon Temps.

Book Review: Dracula the Undead, by Dacre Stoker

Dracula the Un-Dead Dracula the Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I've been a Dracula fan since the early Hammer films. I've also read Bram Stoker's book, so it's not just that I'm in love with the film presentations.

I actually listened to the audio version, but I'm putting my review on a book version because my comments aren't on the audio. The audio (from Audible) is, as with all the Audible productions I've listened to so far, excellent. The voice talent is fantastic and the production is clear and professional. So, no problem there.

I had no problem with the story taking liberties with the plot lines (Mina actually was in love with Dracula). Some of the anachronisms of vampire lore jerked me out of the story for a second, but only a second. For example, modern vampire lore uses the adjective preternatural a lot, a term I don't remember hearing pre-Anne Rice. It might have been in Stoker's original and I just don't remember it, but when I hear that term, I think of post-Rice vampires. That sin can be forgiven, though; I myself use it in my novels, whose vampires are more Dark Shadows era than Rice era.

I had no problem with the tone of the book. It was deliciously old-fashioned, much like the original Stoker. That, I felt, was a strong point.

The plotting, though, had too many stretches. Dacre Stoker tied in Jack the Ripper and Elizabeth Bathory into the Dracula story, which could have worked, but I think there were just too many plot irons in the fire. When the time came to wrap them up at the end, it seemed a little rushed just because there was so much to wrap up.

Your experience reading it as opposed to listening to it might differ. When reading, one pauses and mulls things over more, I find. Yes, I can pause my iPod, but I find that I don't. I don't know why; certainly when reading a physical book, I will stop and look away from the page to savor a scene or to remember the foreshadowing of certain plots. For some reason, though, I don't do that when listening.

Still, I found it enjoyable, and worth a read for any Dracula afficianado.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Podcast Episode Posted

I just posted a short episode of Vampires, Witches, and Geeks on

This episode contains news and announcements.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Online Author Conference

Now this should be fun -- CoyoteCon is a completely online conference for authors! Not only are there no travel costs associated with this conference, there are no costs, either! That's right, free. (You do have to register, though, because space is limited.)

The conference runs May 1-31, 2010, though most of the events happen on the weekends.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Gotta love this error message :-)

Got this error message on my iPod Touch when I tried to look at I Can Has Cheeseburger while not connected to the net:

No Can Has Cheezburger.
No can find cheezburger. Did kitteh unplug network?

Found a picture of it on Flickr:

I just love it when programmers are allowed to use humor in error messages!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Broad Universe at Borders, Shrewsbury, MA 3/6/2010

Join local members of Broad Universe today to celebrate National Women's History Month with an introduction to some of the greatest women writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Broad Universe is a non-profit international organization with the primary goal of promoting science fiction, fantasy, and horror written by women.

Join them for short presentations and rapid-fire readings. All events are free and open to the public.

March 6, 2010, 1 pm

Note: Elaine Isaak sprained her ankle and won't be able to present on James Tiptree, Jr. today.

476 Boston Turnpike
Shrewsbury, MA 01545

Jennifer Pelland -- Octavia Butler
Trisha Wooldridge -- Madeleine L'Engle
Pheobe Wray -- Connie Willis
Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert -- Marge Piercy

Sunday, February 28, 2010

March is National Women's History Month

From the National Women's History Project web site:

"The overarching theme for March 2010 is Writing Women Back into History. In 2010, in celebration of our 30th Anniversary, we will be highlighting themes from previous years. Each of these past themes recognizes a different aspect of women’s achievements, from ecology to art, and from sports to politics."

Local members of Broad Universe, a non-profit international organization with the primary goal of promoting science fiction, fantasy, and horror written by women, will celebrate National Women's History Month with an introduction to some of the greatest women writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Join them for short presentations and rapid-fire readings. All events are free and open to the public.

March 6, 2010, 1 pm

476 Boston Turnpike
Shrewsbury, MA 01545

Jennifer Pelland -- Octavia Butler
Trisha Wooldridge -- Madeleine L'Engle
Elaine Isaak -- James Tiptree, Jr.
Pheobe Wray -- Connie Willis
Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert -- Marge Piercy

March 13, 2010, 7 pm

Toadstool Bookshop
Lorden Plaza
586 Nashua Street
Milford, NH 03055

Jennifer Pelland -- Octavia Butler
Trisha Wooldridge -- Madeleine L'Engle
Elaine Isaak -- James Tiptree, Jr.
Pheobe Wray -- Connie Willis

March 18, 2010, 6:30 pm

Jacob Edwards Library
236 Main Street
Southbridge, MA 01550

Trisha Wooldridge -- Madeleine L'Engle
Pheobe Wray -- Connie Willis

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Podcast interview with author & witch Dorothy Morrison

I posted the first part of my podcast interview with author & witch Dorothy Morrison a couple of days ago. We had a lot of fun doing it, too.

If you're not familiar with Dorothy, here's some background info.

Dorothy Morrison is the author of over a dozen non-fiction books on paganism and Wicca including

Everyday Magic
The Craft: A Witch's Book of Shadows
Magical Needlework
Utterly Wicked

With Kristen Madden, she co-wrote Dancing the Goddess Incarnate and is the creator of The Whimsical Tarot.

In the first half of the interview, I talked to Dorothy about storytelling, her first novel (Lucinda's Web), and the woes and wackiness of book touring.

A native Texan, Dorothy lives in Virginia with her husband.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Massachusetts residents: Don't forget to vote on Tuesday.

There's a special election to vote for the replacement for the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Whether you're for Coakley or Brown, vote. Apparently this election will be close.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Podcasting Pioneer Tee Morris Suffers Family Loss

As you know, I have a podcast. It isn't a major production and it isn't one of the top podcasts on iTunes, but it is a podcast, I do have listeners, and I've done it all myself. Well, mostly.

One year for Christmas I asked hubby for a book on podcasting called Podcasting for Dummies. One of the authors was Tee Morris, who, I later discovered, was the first podcaster to podcast a novel. The book was immensely helpful, and I began to listen to one of Tee's podcasts, The Survival Guide to Writing Fantasy. He's always seemed like a genuine, helpful guy.

Yesterday his wife died from complications of the flu, leaving behind Tee and a 7-year-old daughter. It’s so hard to believe that a man who was so giving would have something so precious taken from him.

One of his friends, fellow author Philipa (Pip) Ballantine has set up a ChipIn fund to raise money to cover their immediate expenses and to set up a fund for his daughter, who his listeners know as Sonic Boom. If you'd like to contribute, click the widget below or look him up on ChipIn.