Monday, February 28, 2011

You Tell Me...About POVs

How do you feel about changes in POV during a book? For instance, in a wonderful book I just finished, the majority of the book was in the MC's POV, with a few scenes in the villain's POV. Then toward the end of the book, we got one scene in the love interest's POV and at the end of that scene, there was a paragraph or two in another character's POV.

Now it was done very well and clearly and didn't bother me at all. Yet, I know switching like that does bother some people.

So I'm curious how you all feel about it. Because my current WIP sort of follows a similar pattern to the book I mentioned above. The book switches back and forth between my MC and her love interest until close to the end. Then there are two or three chapters that are in two other characters' POVs. But in these scenes, my MC and her love interest are out of commission. But stuff needs to happen, so....another character or two take the wheel for a second.

I've been debating somehow changing these scenes so they can stay in my MC's and her love interest's POVs - but really, those scenes just work better with the other characters.

So tell do you feel about switching POVs?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Funnies

"Write like a lover. Edit like an ex-wife." 
—Justin Tanner 

"Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen become bouillon cubes."
— John LeCarre 

"What one wants to do with stories is screw them up."
— William Gass

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blog Chain - Literary Love

My turn on the old Bloggin' Chain :D The ever awesome Shaun picked this topic. Since the chain started on Valentine's Day, Shaun wanted to know:

Who is your favorite literary couple?

This one was actually tougher for me to answer than I thought it would be. For me, it's a tie. Between:

Alex and Rane from

and Jamie and Claire from

I don't know if it's because both of the series are really long so you get to spend a lot of time with the characters or what, but both of these couples are just the epitome of devotion, passion, and undying love to me. Alex and Claire are both feisty, strong women and Rane and Jamie (a smuggler among other things and a Scottish Highland lord and outlaw and smuggler respectively (hmmm maybe I just have a thing for smugglers?)) are swoon-worthy. Just amazing couples, amazing stories, love love love them!!

Stop by Eric's blog to check out his answer from yesterday and head on over to Margie's on the 26th to see who she loves! :)

Who is your favorite literary couple?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What's Up Wednesday

Lot's of fun things going on!

Today is the last day to enter to win a signed copy of Leah Clifford's A Touch Mortal over at OA so hurry and enter if you haven't yet!

My awesome amazing friend Christine Fonseca has a sneak peek of her new book 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids posted! Here is the link if you'd like to read a chapter from this awesome book, and here is the post from her blog announcing it :D

We have another Mystery Agent contest coming up at Operation Awesome!!! We will start taking entries on March 1st. Here are the rules:

1) Entry limit: 75 entrants.

2) Pitch length: 140 characters. Think Tweet. Since we're talking 140 characters, Title and Genre don't have to be part of the pitch -- add them on to the comment somewhere.

3) Genres: YA (especially thriller, cyberpunk, horror, historical romance); MG; women's fiction; romance (especially with a strong, female heroine).

So get those Tweet Pitches ready to go!!

Hope everyone's Wednesday is going well. Does anyone know of any other cool happenings around the blogosphere? Post them in the comments!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's Release Day for A Touch Mortal!

Today is Feb 22nd which means....


Head on over to the OA! We are giving away a SIGNED copy of Leah's book. Entries will be taken until 11:59 pm tomorrow night and the winner will be announced on Thursday. So hurry on over and enter!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cut the Bitter and Give Me the Sweet

So I just finished a completely awesome book, but the ending was bittersweet...with a heavy emphasis on the bitter. And I'm just not sure how I feel about that :)

One the one hand, the book was WONDERFUL. I read it in a day and a half, couldn't put it down, LOVED it. I'm still thinking about it, have been all day, which really tells you how good it was.


It didn't have that Happily Ever After ending that I love so much. Now, the ending fit the book. It worked. And there is an opening for a sequel where all could be made right (though I don't think there is one). However...argh. I just want a happy ending!

For the same reason I pretty much stick to romantic comedies with the occasional action flick that ends nicely. When I take time out of my day to read or watch a movie, I want to come away HAPPY. I don't want to be sad about the characters I've grown to love. I'm all for torturing them throughout the book, but when I turn that last page, I want there to be smiles all around.

What can I say? I'm a total sap :D Now, I'm good with stories like The Hunger Game series. I mean, it really needed to end the way it did, and in the end *spoiler alert if you haven't read it* Katniss does end up with a good man who loves her and she does find some peace. So, I'm not saying that it has to be all sunshine and rainbows.

But man...give me a little bit LOL

What kind of endings do you prefer? Are you okay with less than happily ever after endings? How much less?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Funnies

Manuscript: something submitted in haste and returned at leisure. 
~ Oliver Herford 

A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor. 
~ Ring Lardner 

The only imaginative fiction being written today is income tax returns. 
~ Herman Wouk

 (Totally did not know this :D Hmm...I wonder if this is why I always want desserts when I'm stressed....subliminal messages) :D

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Being a Social Networking Writer

I missed the blog chain last time around, but the question was about social I good at it, what do I like to do, what don't I like to do, etc.

It's a good question. Social networking is just a part of being an author nowadays it seems. Though I know (or know of) plenty of "big name" authors who don't do the social networking thing. Or hire someone else to do it for them :D

But aside from building your name and online presence, there are some great advantages to social networking. For me, the biggest perk has been the awesome people I've met. The writing community is truly one of the most giving, generous, helpful, and just all around fun group of people I've ever had the pleasure to be a part of. I have met some truly amazing people. And it is soooo fun to walk into a bookstore and see books written by people I actually know on the shelves :)

As for what I do for social networking, what I like and don't like :

Blogging - this is what I'm best at and enjoy the most. I love reading blogs (though I'm terrible at commenting) and I've really enjoyed building my blog and posting on it every day.

Facebook - I love being able to pop on and see how everyone is doing, what everyone is up to. The vast majority of my friends and family live in other states, so Facebook is one of the main ways we stay in touch. And it's great for checking up on my writing peeps and posting updates about my books.

Twitter - I'm terrible at Twitter. Twitter scares me LOL I'm starting to get into it, but really, for the most part, it's just a mystery to me. I finally figured out the whole @mentions thing, and I have a post from the awesome Mr. Nathan Bransford on how to use Twitter bookmarked so I can peruse it and try to figure everything out. But I'm definitely a Twitter newbie.

How about you? What are your favorite or least favorite aspects of social networking?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Do What You Don't Want To Do And Get What You Want To Get

This seems to be my mantra lately, but it's a good one. There's a lot of things I don't really want to do...but I want the end result. So *shrug* you do what you gotta do.

Diet? Not fun. AT ALL. But I've been doing it anyways and doing really well. Cleaning my house?'s really nice waking up in the morning to an empty sink and not tripping over piles o' crap on my way down the stairs. Doing what I don't want to do has been getting me what I want to get. A size down in my jeans and a clean (mostly) house.

So, I decided it was time to apply this to my writing.

I love writing, I really do. But sometimes, a lot of times, it just feels like work. It's daunting thinking of the days and weeks of pouring out words that need to be edited and rearranged and cut and rewritten and edited again and again...and again. :)

But the end result is so worth it. There is seriously no feeling in the world like looking at a clean, polished, finished manuscript - a story YOU wrote that you know is GOOD. It's just beyond awesome.

I want that. I want that finished manuscript. I want to sell it and see it published.

But to do that, I've got to put in the work. I need to do what I sometimes don't want to do if I want to get what I want to get.

So....I guess it's back to the grindstone :)

How are you guys doing on your projects? What do you do that you don't want to do in order to get what you want to get? (and how is that for a mouthful LOL)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tip Tuesday - How to Write Good

I know you've all seen variations of the following list, but really it's just too funny yet full of good tips :D I found this version at Grammar Humor.

Don't use a big word where a diminutive one will suffice.

Don't use no double negatives.

Don't never use no triple negatives.

No sentence fragments

Corollary: Complete sentences: important.

Stamp out and eliminate redundancy.

Avoid cliches like the plague.

All generalizations are bad.

Take care that your verb and subject is in agreement.

A preposition is a bad thing to end a sentence with.

Avoid those run-on sentences that just go on, and on, and on, they never stop, they just keep rambling, and you really wish the person would just shut up, but no, they just keep going, they're worse than the Energizer Bunny, they babble incessantly, and these sentences, they just never stop, they go on forever...if you get my drift...

Never go off on tangents, which are lines that intersect a curve at only one point and were discovered by Euclid, who lived in the sixth century, which was an era dominated by the Goths, who lived in what we now know as Poland...

Don't obfuscate your theses with extraneous verbiage.

Never use that totally cool, radically groovy out-of-date slang.

Avoid tumbling off the cliff of triteness into the black abyss of overused metaphors.

Keep your ear to the grindstone, your nose to the ground, take the bull by the horns of a dilemma, and stop mixing your metaphors.

Avoid those abysmally horrible, outrageously repellent exaggerations.

Avoid any awful anachronistic aggravating antediluvian alliterations.

This sentence no verb.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Awesome Follower Giveaway Winner

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!! Time to spread a little follower love :D The winner of the 5 YA books is....

Congrats! Email your addy to me at authormichellemclean(at)yahoo(dot)com and I'll get your books out to you :)

Thanks for playing everyone and thanks for being so awesome! Hope everyone has a splendid Valentine's :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Funnies

For this awesome pre-Valentine Friday, I give you......LOLCats Love :D

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Don't Shock Me Unless You Mean It

You must break all the rules of painting [*insert "writing"*], but you must also convince me you've had a reason to do so
— Hans Hoffman

I love this quote. I've read books where something completely unexpected and shocking happens and it's just PHENOMENAL. Maybe the author kills off a main and well-loved character, or maybe they stick a poem in the middle of a chapter or switch POVs midstream or jumps time frames or breaks some other "rule" and it just works. Sometimes breaking all the rules or bending and twisting them in unexpected ways is what makes an incredible book so amazing.

And sometimes it's painfully obvious that the author was aiming for some shock value and it falls flat. 

I think there is a time and place for bending or breaking the rules, but it has to make sense....there has to be a reason for it. If it's done for shock value alone it often comes across as being too forced, unrealistic. The reader is pulled out of the story instead of being thrust further in and is left with a sense of "Oh Please" instead of being wowed.

Just be sure you've got a good reason for what you are doing, something that makes sense for the story, and your readers will be captivated.
Have you ever read something "shocking" or rule-breaking that left you less than impressed? Have you read something done so well it left you in awe of the author's awesomeness? :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Happy Awesome Follower Day!

Okay, since I have the coolest, most supportive, and just plain awesome followers E.V.E.R., and since we hit 500 followers during my Blog Tour, I thought I'd do a little giveaway to say THANK YOU! :)

I thought it would be fun to give away a book for every 100 followers I have sooooo......I will be giving one lucky winner


To enter, you must:

1. Be a follower and

2. Leave a comment on this post 

And I'll give you an extra entry per activity if you tweet, facebook, blog or otherwise spread the love :) Just let me know in the comments :D

I'll take entries through 11:59 pm EST on Sunday the 13th and will announce the winner on Valentine's Day, Monday the 14th.

Good luck! And thanks for being such a wonderful group of awesome peeps!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tutor Tuesday - Commas and Appositives

Figuring out where and when to use a comma can be tricky. They're pesky little buggers, aren't they? One situation when you sometimes use one (and sometimes not) is with appositives and appositive phrases.

An appositive is a noun that describes another noun, such as:

My father, Mike, is retired.


When the movie was over I called my mom, Laurie, to pick me up.

An appositive phrase would be:

Stephen King, a New York Times bestselling author, has millions of fans.


Being a huge supporter of the cause, Rachel donated thousands of dollars.

So, when do you use commas in these situations?

When the information is necessary for the meaning of the sentence you do NOT need to separate it with a comma. If the information is extra and nonessential, you DO separate it with commas.

For example:

My friend Sarah just got married.

I presumably have more than one friend, so her name (Sarah) is essential information and therefore is NOT separated by commas.

Example of when you do use commas:

At our high school, the principal, Mr. Torreli, has a very strict policy on tardiness.

There is only one principal at the school, so the extra information (his name) is nonessential and therefore set apart with commas.

In a situation where you have both, it might look like this:

My uncle David brought his wife, Shannon, to my graduation.

I have more than one uncle so his name is essential (not set apart) but he only has one wife, so her name isn't necessary and IS set apart.

What are some punctuation rules that confuse (or just plain irritate) you? :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Mayhem - Attack of the Killer Bedspread

You know, you just never realize how important each and every finger is until you can't use one of them. Washing your hair...almost impossible. Getting dressed...insanely hard. Tying shoes? Not going to happen. Typing my usual 100 words a minute (okay, maybe 70) - yeah...I don't think so.

I injured myself early Sunday morning....and not in a cool way. Oh no. I couldn't smash my finger building my kids the world's most awesome tree house (like one amazing writer/mom I know). Or maybe crush it while saving my child from a burning vehicle.

Nope. Not me.

I managed to rip off almost the entire nail of my left middle finger at 2 in the morning....while trying to pull the covers up.

Yep, that's right. I was attacked by a big, soft, goose-feather-filled BLANKIE.

Seriously, how embarrassing is that?

My loving husband had pulled his usual "hog all the blankets and shove them under my body then fall into a state of sleep that is closer to dead than slumber so my wife can't get any warmth and almost freezes to death" routine and when I tried to dislodge them by yanking with all my pitiful might....somehow....the blankets stayed put and half of my nail went flying leaving behind (TMI coming up) a raw, sore, bloody mess.

I found this irritating and inconvenient until I was getting ready for church and realized playing the piano for the children's Sunday School was going to be interesting sans middle is typing (though I'm doing considerably better than I expected) :D Though, I'm seriously considering taking some prenatal vitamins to speed up my nail growth because, um, OWWWW!

In any case, :D just thought I'd share my ridiculous injury on this early Monday morning and send out a huge wish that everyone else's weekend went a little better than mine :)

So, anyone else ever injure themselves in a totally humiliating, beyond ridiculous way? Or am I the only one who has killer blankets in my house? :D

And stay tuned for Wednesday!!! We are going to have a fun I HAVE THE MOST AWESOME FOLLOWERS IN THE WORLD giveaway in which I may or may not be giving away some book awesomeness....lots of them! :D

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Funnies

There are few things, apparently, more helpful to a writer than having once been a weird little kid. 
— Katherine Paterson

(Book Section FAIL)

With sixty staring me in the face, I have developed inflammation of the sentence structure and a definite hardening of the paragraphs. 
— James Thurber 

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve it through not dying. 
— Woody Allen

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Super Huge Grand Prize Winner!!!

I took all the comments from the entire blog tour, put them in a spreadsheet, and let handy dandy choose a number, and the winner of the super huge awesome Grand Prize Blog Tour Giveaway pictured below is.......*drumroll*.......

Congrats!!! You've won everything you see in the picture below and a few things that aren't pictured there :D Just send me your addy to authormichellemclean(at)yahoo(dot)com and I'll get your prize basket out to you :D Don't forget to let me know which T-shirt you'd like (the one with the blue border or the floral swirlies).

Thanks so much to everyone who commented on the tour stops, and sent me congratulations and support. Ya'all are just awesome, no other word for it :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tons of Wednesday Awesomeness!

All right....we've got some fun stuff going on this month!!!

First off, thank you all so much for all your support during my Blog Tour. It was a blast! And...I've got a bonus day for you :D Today I will be joining the lovely ladies at the QueryTracker Blog so head on over and say hi!

I will announce the winner of the super, huge Grand Prize Blog Tour Giveaway Basket TOMORROW!!

And over on the Operation Awesome Blog, we have a whole month of follower love planned to celebrate reaching 300 followers and because it's Valentine's and all :D We just had our Mystery Agent Contest, so stay tuned for the winner. And maybe for a little extra fun for all the participants.

We'll also be having awesome giveaways ALL MONTH LONG so keep an eye on the posts :D

Annnnd somewhere along my blog tour, I hit 500 followers :D So, I'm thinking we need to do something fun to celebrate. Stay tuned next week for a special treat :D

I hope everyone has an awesome Wednesday. I am once again stuck in my house with my children who are having a SECOND snow day in a row. They are thrilled....I am less so LOL So, because I need a little smile (and I need to get my butt in gear and get back to work on my novel) here's a little Jackson Pearce with a little tough love to make you smile today :)

How is everyone else doing out there today? Anyone else snowed or iced in? Anyone making progress on those projects?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Last Day Blog Tour Stops and a Special Guest!

Welcome to February everyone! Can you believe we are here already!?

Okay, today is the last day of my blog tour. And I have a special treat for you today. I will be featured over at the lovely and talented Vicki Rocho's, and I will also be over at my awesome Blog Chain buddy's, Eric Stallsworth's. So head on over to their blogs! Today is the last day to leave a comment on any of the blog tour posts (for a complete list with links, check out the blog tour tab above) for more entries in the huge Grand Prize Giveaway!!! I will be announcing the winner of the Grand Prize on Thursday, so go comment!!

And for an added treat...Eric will be doing a guest post for us here! The floor's all yours Eric! :)

First off, a big thanks to Michelle for allowing me to grace your blog. I’m truly honored to be allowed to guest post here.

Essays are a big part of my life, particularly since I’m still working my way through a Masters degree. And depending on the assignment, I either really enjoy or really dread writing essays. Okay, more often than not I dread them. Michelle McLean has the answer for everyone like me who hates the idea of writing essays. Even if you just find the task difficult, Michelle’s book Homework Helpers: Essays & Term Papers will ease your pain.

After reading through her book, I found that Chapter 3 on Argumentative/Persuasive Essays is my favorite. Michelle is compelling, and her writing is very conversational. Reading through the chapter makes this type of essay much easier to begin and work through. From the get-go, Michelle tells you what the purpose of this essay type is (i.e. to convince your reader to agree with your point of view), and then she launches into easy-to-follow steps that will get you through the essay creation.

Since I’ve already stated that I don’t particularly like essay writing, why would I choose this type as a favorite? Surprisingly, I like the challenge. More often than not in this type of essay, you’re forced to take a stance and defend it. You have to base your stance on factual information, and sometimes you may be forced to take a stance you personally don’t agree with. This is where the true challenge comes into play.

I also believe that this type of essay has an impact on my ability to write fiction. When we’re crafting a character, everything has to be believable. In essence, we have to take a stance on who the character is and why they choose to do the various things they do. We have to prove to our readers that the story makes sense, that the characters are realistic, and that the world we are creating is worth reading about. We put ourselves in a character’s figurative shoes and walk around until our readers believe.

If you’re struggling with essays (or know someone else who does), you really need to pick up Michelle’s book Essays & Term Papers. It will help your writing ability in ways you never imagined, and it’s hands down the most laid-back (and yet incredibly informative) textbook I’ve ever read.

Thanks again to Michelle for allowing me to visit. It has been a real pleasure.