Jean Marie Ward

fiction, nonfiction and all points in between

Win a Wishstone to Celebrate “Vanyr’s” Print Date & Poll Standing

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

This has been a heck of a day–in the best possible way.  

- The print edition of With Nine You Get Vanyr went on sale.
- Preditors & Editors posted the results of their
2006 SF/fantasy Poll–and VANYR made #2.  (Thank you!  Thank you! to everyone who voted.)
- My bookmarks arrived (and they’re gorgeous!)
- My local Walden’s asked when I’d like a signing.

Whew!  qnotku would’ve been so proud.  To celebrate, I’m…

…opening WardSmith.com’s first contest of 2007 here on LJ before it’s even posted on the site.  

The novel’s tagline is “How much would you give to live your fantasy?  Think fast–your Wishstone is waiting.”  For the contest we’re asking something a little different: How much would you give for a Wishstone*?

For a limited time (until April 14, to be exact) you don’t have to give anything. To celebrate our print release, hundakleptisis and I are giving you the opportunity to win a Wishstone or a set of three Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab perfume imps.  Or both.  

The grand prize of is a crystal egg suitable for storing wishes or containing demons, and three BPAL imps.  Two other lucky winners will receive three BPAL imp ears, sans egg.  The fragrances–guaranteed to evoke your inner goddess or the goddess of a woman near you–are keyed to the cyber-names of the Daughters of Reyah’s three top magic users:

* Bastet (for Thea, who changes into cats)
* Psyche (for Liz, the group’s mind mage)
* Kurukulla (a blend of lotus blooms and roses suitable for Anna’s cyber-identity of Circe)

Entering is simple.  All you have to do is send us the answer to the following question via our Contact Page:

In Chapter 15 of With Nine You Get Vanyr, readers discover the nine Earth women transmogrified by the Wishstone aren’t the only souvenirs Reyah brought back from our little blue planet.  She’s also Chosen a knight from among the players of an online computer game.  What is that knight’s name in Domain?

The winning entries will be drawn at random from emails with the correct answer received before midnight EST, April 14.  We’ll announce the winners on April 15 to give folks a reason to look forward to tax day for a change.

You don’t need to buy the book to win.  The answer can be found somewhere on the web site.  Plus, everyone who provides a snail mail address will receive two free bookmarks, one featuring Anne Cain’s luscious cover art and the other featuring one a warm and fuzzy cartoon from Hail Dubyus–one of the few. 

Yes, we will mail overseas.  Across the galaxy?  Well, I’ll need to talk to Madame Reyah about that…

* The management makes no supernatural claims for the Wishstone offered in this contest.  All we say is, sometimes, wishing makes it so.

Posted 10 years, 7 months ago at 9:25 pm.

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It’s Here!

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

Tonight’s the big night!  The electronic version of With Nine You Get Vanyr is now available for download from Samhain Publishing.  
There are so many people I need to thank.  My husband Greg and Teri’s husband SJ for never doubting qnotku and I could do this–even when well-meaning friends told us we’d never pull it off.  All the beta readers who hung with us through what must’ve seemed like a hundred rewrites.  Our parents for instilling the love of reading and storytelling that made it possible to write.  Last but not least, our wonderful editor Jess Bimberg and Samhain Publishing for making this dream come true.  And how!  Look at that gorgeous cover by Anne Cain.  And the typography inside is just as lovely.
In honor of the event, there’s a contest running on the
WardSmith web site.  The winner will receive a download of the ebook and three Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab imps.  Please, don’t be concerned if the contest page flickers in and out.  We appear to have acquired gremlins…or ferrets.  ;-)   Besides, we have a work-around.  You can enter the contest here too.  Just send me the answer to the following question:

Which of the Nine Sisters used to work as an office manager?

The answer can be found among in the Nine Sisters section of the site.  You’ll find three excerpts there too.  Enjoy!

Posted 10 years, 10 months ago at 1:29 am.

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How do you say goodbye to your best friend?

Sunday, November 5th, 2006 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

 
Hail to thee, blithe spirit!
Bird thou never wert–
That from heaven or near it
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest,
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest…

We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

Yet, if we could scorn
Hate and pride and fear,
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear
I know not how thy joy we should ever come near.

Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures
That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.

Percy Bysshe Shelley, from “To a Skylark”

I practiced those lines over and over in the waiting room of the funeral home so I wouldn’t break out in tears when I read them at Teri Smith’s memorial service. It wasn’t enough. 

Oh, I got through the excerpt. With a group of friends and beta readers, I read my part in her favorite section of our book — the scene that shows the power of wishes and the bonds between friends. A gust of wind opened the door to the chapel as we began the reading. Everyone insisted it was Teri checking in.

It still wasn’t enough.

A Highlander fan group brought us together ten years ago. At first we circled around each other, as friends and writers, not quite believing we’d found the other half of our respective brains. Phone calls followed, lots of them, from ten o’clock in a Saturday evening to five the following morning. 

Our fan fiction morphed into original stories. We first met face to face at DragonCon, and the meeting became part of our personal myth — as did the flowers her soon-to-be husband sent all the way from England. She moved to Virginia. Her husband arrived a year later. They lived close enough for me to walk to their apartment, and for the last year, I did, almost every day.

A friend who was widowed young described her grief as a meat hook in the gut. You can’t breathe without your body twisting itself ever tighter around the very thing that’s hurting you. I wouldn’t presume to say I comprehend the magnitude of her loss or the emptiness facing Teri’s husband SJ. But I recognize the feeling.

Losing a friend isn’t as simple as amputating a limb or even cutting out your heart. It’s as if some generous symbiote took up residence within you, changing the way you see, think and feel for the better. When that guest of the heart is torn from you, you don’t lose one part of yourself, you lose something of every part. Suddenly, you’re missing the muscles of your arm, the sensation in your hand, the breath in your lungs, the toes you need to dance.

I can’t make tea without thinking of all the cups we shared, solving the problems of the world — and incidentally our own — as we finished the pot. She introduced me to anime. She found me when I got lost in my corset. Twice. Laughing, she explained the meaning of “circle jerk” and “cluster f-” and a host of other things the Colonel made sure his red-haired daughter never knew.

We started a magazine together. We mourned the death of our fathers less than six months apart. She shared her grandkids with me. She addicted me to BPAL. She found me outrageous shoes on eBay. She named my car. We wrote a book together and worked out the plots for a dozen more.  

She even gave me my cat. He appeared in her hallway on my birthday, and she knew, even before we exhausted all leads to finding the owner, the cat would belong to me. After all, hadn’t she told me I needed one just the week before?

The irony is I really do need him now, especially during the thousand times a day I get up to call her about something wonderful or silly or downright awful.  “We made Pammie play Pandora.” “Oh God, they’ve made a car that parallel parks by itself. We’ll never have to do the Chinese fire drill ever again!”

I think the worst part of losing my best friend is not being able to share my life with her. She owns pieces of my soul no one, not even my dearest love, ever occupied before. I never even knew they were there until she found them. Then she left them, and me, behind.

I hear the memories of her in my head, so clearly I could quote whole stories, complete with gestures and facial expressions. But that’s all I have. I’ll never have any more. I’m desperate to write them down, because if they fade, as memories will, I won’t even be able to hear her in my head.

And (Damn it!) I’m not ready to say goodbye.

Posted 10 years, 10 months ago at 1:30 pm.

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Light a Candle

Monday, October 23rd, 2006 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

If you have any good thoughts, healing wishes, prayers, juju or anything else that might help, please, send it to Bethesda, MD, today.  qnotku suffered a major heart attack while on the road to a pre-surgical seminar early Sunday evening.  (Yeah, the irony is killing, ain’t it?)  She was taken to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, MD, where she’s currently in the cardiac ICU.  While you’re at it, if you can spare any healing thoughts for her dh, hundakleptis, please, send those along too.  He’s staying with her tonight.
I’ll post more information as soon as I have any.

Posted 10 years, 11 months ago at 2:20 am.

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Good health juju needed for qnotku and hundakleptisis

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

Some people will do ANYTHING to avoid putting up holiday decorations…
As qnotku’s friends know, a severe attack of pancreatitis sent her dh, hundakleptisis, to the hospital on Monday. Then there was the scary 3:30 a.m. phone call yesterday.
Today it was qnotku who made the trip to the emergency room. (Fortunately, tree was there to help out. Thanks tree!) The hospital admitted her too and is evaluating whether or not she needs surgery for her hernia.
I told qnotku that if she kept this up I would just drag a Yule Log into the ward and light it there. She fell asleep in the middle of the sentence. That’s implied permission, right? After all, she didn’t DISAGREE with me, right? ;-)
Seriously, qnotku sends her love and thanks for all the responses to her earlier post.
Hugs,
Jean Marie

Posted 11 years, 9 months ago at 8:22 pm.

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