Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mystery Agent Contest TOMORROW!!!

Operation Awesome is hosting another Mystery Agent Contest tomorrow!! Head over there tomorrow morning for full details and to enter your one line pitch. Here is what our agent is looking for:

YA and MG: southern gothic, historical fiction, magical realism, science fiction, supernatural/ paranormal, ghost stories, humor, fantasy, thriller/ suspense, edgy YA, friendship MG

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Point of View

I was talking to some friends recently about the inner workings of how writers craft stories, and one of the subjects we talked about was point of view. I wrote a post on this a few years ago for my other blog, so I thought I'd repost some of the finer points. Mainly, the different types of point of view out there. Until I started looking around while writing this post, I didn't really think about how many types of points of view there are.

In fiction, we tend to use first person or third person. But there are quite a few others. Here are the common choices:
  • First person - the narrator is generally the main character in the book and tells the story as "I" (I did this, I said, I felt)

  • First person plural - more rare, with the story told by "we" (we did this, we said that)

  • Second person - very rare - the reader is treated as a character and is referred to as "you." This type of POV works well for some non-fiction works. For example, if I was writing a How-to article, I could use this to say "First, you take the paint brush and apply paint. Then you do this and this and this." For fiction though, this POV isn't used often, though it is used in those Choose Your Own Adventure books.

  • Third person limited - the narrator is outside the story but focuses on one character at a time. (He said, she said). While the POV may change between different characters, these changes would be separated by scene or chapter breaks. 

  • Third person omniscient - the narrator is outside the story but doesn't focus on one character. The narrator knows all, sees all, conveys all. 
Have you ever used a point of view other than first or third person? Do you like reading books in points of view different from the "norm"?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blog Chain - Where Do You Go?

Okay, so it's my turn to chose the topic for this round and I toooootally spaced (I was supposed to post yesterday).

So! Without further ado, here is my question:

There are so many things we have to include in our storyworlds...characters, world details, settings, etc. No matter what genre you write, your stories are full of tiny details that help create your storyworld. I know that for me, at least, finding or creating all these details can sometimes be a bit tough. 

Where do you go for help? And what types of things are you more likely to research/search for as opposed to making up on your own? Do you have any favorite resource sites? Share links if you have them!!

For instance, I had a rather lame name for my girls' boarding school in my book. I was using it as a filler and sort of never got around to giving it a more unique name. I wanted to remedy that but after a million edits (and as it was nearing midnight and I was a little fried) I just couldn't think of anything.

I started googling and found this site, Serendipity, which has several random name generators. I took a couple of the names it came up with, combined them, and now have a school name I absolutely love.

This article on K.M. Weiland's Author Culture blog has several good links for historical writers.

This site has a lot of great Old West info (I've spent a lot of time in their Western Slang section) :D

I've emailed horticultural societies for info on what types of flowers bloom in England in the winter, doctors to find out if 100 year old skeletons would still have hair, checked out a pirate lover site to find info on pistols, and googled the history of toilets :D

What sorts of things have you looked up? Do you have any great resource links?

Head over to Margie's to see what sorts of things she might be googling :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Funnies

You know you're a writer when...Your mom says, "Now I'm ironing the placket," and you're standing beside her thinking, Placket. Good word.

You know you're a writer when...You are weaning yourself off adverbs the way others wean themselves off chocolate.

You know you're a writer when...You took time off to write a novel and found so many ways to avoid the actual writing that now you know how to reglaze a window; cook a perfect French cassoulet; change the car's oil, belts, hoses, tires, and bulb; and fix pilot lights.

(Today's Friday Funnies from Adair Lara's You Know You're a Writer When... and LOLCats)

Stay tuned for a new Mystery Agent contest over at Operation Awesome on July 1st!!! Head over there for details! :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Schedule

Hey all :) I'll be reverting to my summer schedule for the next couple months. So from now until Sept 1st I'll be posting on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. And in Sept I'll go back to posting Monday - Friday. :) And of course I'll still be over at Operation Awesome on Thursdays :D

I hope everyone is having a great summer so far! :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Occupational Hazards Part Deux

There are so many quirky little things that go along with being a writer. Here are a few I discovered this weekend:
  • Your neighbors aren't sure who you are and ask your husband who that lady is they occasionally see by the mailbox. He has to explain that you are an author so you don't get out much.
  • Every aspect of your life takes a little trip through your head - like when you really need to talk to someone but can't right away so you have a complete conversation with them in your head before you actually talk to them (and sometimes you decide not to talk to them at all because the internal version didn't turn out so well)
  • Your mother gives you cleaning tips, like "when you are walking around your house and you see something out of place, just pick it up and your house will stay clean." This is bad for two reasons - 1. your house is so messy your mother feels the need to give you cleaning tips and 2. You have to inform your mother that that tactic just won't work for you because you never actually leave your computer desk long enough to take a walk through your house. On the plus side, your mother has never laughed so hard in her life, so at least you made someone smile :D
What are some occupational hazards you've run into as a writer? :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Funnies

ON AGING (a lot of these apply to being a writer as well :D )

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.

Insanity is my only means of relaxation.

My mind not only wanders, sometimes it leaves completely.

Every time I think about exercise, I lie down til the thought goes away.

God put me on earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I am so far behind, I will live forever.

I finally got my head together, and my body fell apart.

There cannot be a crisis this week; my schedule is already full.

The nice part of living in a small town is that when I don't know what I'm doing, someone else does.

As time goes on I think I know what I want until I walk from one end of the house to the other, and can't remember what I came after.

The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat are really good friends.

Sometimes I think I understand everything, then I regain consciousness.

Seen it all, Done it all, Can't remember most of it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blog Chain - Creative Curses!

This round's topic was chosen by the always awesome Kate. Her topic:

Curses, you've been cursed! You can write no longer. The story well has run dry, and you can't even remember how to type. Now what do you do? Where do you channel your creative energies? And to what lengths would you go to break the curse?

Honestly, I've sat staring at this topic for a while. I just don't know what I'd do. It's unfathomable lol

So, I thought back to before I wrote "for real". I've always done a few stories here and there but once I got out of high school until after my son was born, I don't think I wrote a word, anywhere. Well, some poetry. But nothing major. Instead, most of my creative endeavors were focused on cross stitching.

I loved cross stitching. And I was pretty good at it. I'd do the really big, complicated pieces. Like this one I made while I was pregnant with my son:

In fact, thinking about it now, I kind of miss doing it. I might have to get back into it :D I for sure need to do one for my daughter at the very least :D (I did start one for her, but then she came early and life got hectic...and then I started writing again) :D

So, yeah...I guess if I couldn't write, I'd cross stitch, I'd play my piano, I'd learn to play the violin I bought and never learned to use - I'd focus that creative energy somewhere. I'd probably go pretty far to break the curse as well, but not to the extent that my family was jeopardized in any way.

But really, I just can't imagine the story well running dry. And if it did, I'd probably still be sitting there, staring off into space, dwelling on all the other stories I've read. If I couldn't thin of new ones, I could still remember the old :)

What would you do if such a horrible curse befell you?

Stop by Margie's blog tomorrow to see what she would do :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Books and Merchandising

On Friday over at Operation Awesome, Katrina put up an awesome post on merchandising and books. She talked about all the cool stuff you can get with some books (all the Harry Potter products, Arwen's necklace from LOTR, etc.).

I've bought a couple items from favorite books, among them:

The silver ring Jamie gives Claire in Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER

and a set of perfume from Jessica Verday's THE HOLLOW

I love stuff like this. It is so fun to have something real from a story you love. Even more fun when it's from one of your own stories. Like my gorgeous TREASURED LIES necklace :D (made by the awesomely talented Bonny Anderson - go check out her store HERE!)

And, the Team Zenn necklace I made for Elana Johnson's POSSESSION release giveaway (Team Jag has a "jag"ged lightning bolt pendant to go along with the "Vi"olet beads and silver butterflies.)

Having something tangible you can use to help market your book is both lucrative and just plain fun. Is this something you've ever thought of doing with your own books?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011


My wonderful son, when asked to chose a number between 1 and 8, picked number.....6!!! Congrats to


Shoot me an email (addy on the sidebar --> ) with your address and I'll send out your very own copy of POSSESSION and your POSSESSION-themed necklace :D

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Funnies

(Friday Funny quotes taken from Adair Lara's You Know When You're a Writer When...)

You know you're a writer when...You force yourself to have dinner alone in a restaurant just so you can write about it.

You know you're a writer when...At parties, you check out the bookshelves the way other people snoop through medicine cabinets.

You know you're a writer when...You revise an email ten times before pressing Send, and then spend the next hour frantically calling the computer guy to ask how you can get it back for just one more teensy change.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Celebrating in Style :)

I mentioned in a post recently that one of my traditions when I finish a book is to have my amazingly talented writer/jewelry maker friend Bonny Anderson make a necklace for me. So, I was very excited to do this when I finished my current book, Treasured Lies. In the book there is a locket that is an important element. I wanted something similar to the one I describe in the story. And Bonny created the PERFECT necklace for me :D I am so excited about my Treasured Lies necklace, I just had to share it with you all :D

If you are ever in the market for some beautiful jewelry, I highly recommend visiting Bonny's shop :) You can find her HERE.

Also, don't forget to leave a comment on yesterday's post for a chance to win a copy of Elana Johnson's awesome Possession and a Possession-themed necklace :D

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


It's finally here!!! Let me join in the fangirl shrieks everywhere and let out a huge SQUEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! for a very sweet friend of mine. Today is the official book birthday of the absolutely fabulous Elana Johnson's debut novel, POSSESSION. I love this book...LOVE it. And am very excited to help spread the love around a little :D

Here is the blurb and gorgeous cover for those of you who haven't seen it yet :)

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them….starting by brainwashed Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous: everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

*happy sigh* To celebrate, IT'S GIVEAWAY TIME!!!!

I will, of course, be giving away a copy of this awesome book. BUT this is just too big and too exciting so I have to throw in a little something else. One lucky winner will get not only their very own, shiny copy of POSSESSION, but will also get a "POSSESSION" necklace. (Please forgive me as my camera is on the fritz...I will post a pic as soon as I can) This adorable necklace has a Zen pendant, Violet beads, two silver butterflies, and comes with a "Jag"ged surprise :) (no, unfortunately, not hottie Jag himself) ;-)

To enter, just leave a comment. I'll take entries until Sunday at midnight and will announce the winner on Monday morning. There are more giveaways and POSSESSION awesomeness happening all over the place today! Check out Elana's blog and Christine Fonseca's blog for some good links and if you find any others, feel free to post them here and share them everywhere!

Good luck and CONGRATS ELANA!!!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Blog Chain - Breakin' the Rulz

Today's my day on the Blog Chain and for this round, the lovely Abby asked:

There are SO many writing rules, but sometimes we have to break one or two, just to keep things interesting. Is there a writing rule you've broken on purpose? Why did you choose to break it? And if you want to post a snippet of your writing as an example, even better!

Ahhh...those rule-breakers :D I think I break them all every now and then :) But, like a few of my other blog chain buddies, I am sort of fond of sentence fragments. They just add a good sense of urgency, and extra oomph to the scene. As with everything, overusing them cuts their powers, so I try not to use them too much. But I think they can be very effective when used right.

And...something of mine to illustrate, hmm? Okay - here is a snippet of my current book, Treasured Lies :)

Her heart thumped in painful lurches. She tried to calm down. It was probably just a really big mouse. Or one of the cats? Perhaps the old place really was haunted.

She jumped as a muffled thud reverberated across the rafters. The faint sound of breaking glass had Min running for the exit. There was no visible handle on the outside so Min grabbed the edge of the door and pulled it closed behind her. She was careful to straighten the tapestry that hid the entrance. Backing away, she made sure there was no evidence of the room.


Min froze in alarm.


It was probably just another student. Though that could prove problematic since Min wasn’t supposed to be out of bed. If she were honest with herself, she might admit that all the tales of ghostly lights and noises of late had her a little spooked. The footsteps echoed through the hall.

Min held her breath. She blew out her candle and pressed herself into the wall near the window across from the tapestry-covered alcove, half burying herself in the curtains.

The footsteps grew louder and stronger until at last they stopped a few feet from where she hid. An invisible hand reached out and yanked the draperies aside, letting the strong moonlight spill into the corridor. Min could make out the large, dark shadow of a man. She tried to keep silent. Her breath came faster, her heart beating in desperate time to her panic.

The shadow lunged.


:) Be sure to stop by Michelle Hickman's blog to see what rules she likes to break and check out Eric's tomorrow to see his rule breaking awesomeness :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Evolution of a Rhyming Picture Book

I just finished the manuscript for the picture book I'm working on with my amazing friend Lisa Amowitz, so I thought I'd share how I go about doing one of these babies.

First off, almost all of my picture books start out rhyming. I don't know why. I just like them that way LOL They don't always stay rhyming, but if they do, this is how I swing things.

1. I need an idea. I get most of these from watching my kids. But other things inspire me too. For this particular project, Lisa had the outline and a couple pictures and she asked me to write the manuscript. I was thrilled to agree :D

2. I sit down and write. Sometimes by hand, sometimes by key :D I'm not very structured when it comes to picture books. But for this one, since Lisa already had the outline, I tried to be very organized. I numbered all of the images we discussed and tried to write a line or two for each. I had a very difficult time. I finally just read through the outline, sat down, and wrote, referring back to it every now and then when needed. And I was able to finish. Lesson learned. When it comes to picture books I am anti-organized :D

3. Revision time. I go through and clean up the rhymes, the repeats, and anything else that needs to go (or get added). I send it to my sister and another crit partner or two and I read it to my kids and get their input.

4. Once I have a fairly clean manuscript, the real work begins. It's time to clean up the rhythm and meter. Rhyming picture books are a hard sell. They have to be as perfect as possible. So...I print it out and mark it up. I count the syllables in each stanza and line. It looks like this:

Then I mark the stressed and unstressed syllables. And then I change words and lines so it matches up as perfectly as possible with the meter I want to use. I do try to stick to the form I've chosen as closely as possible while writing, but I make mistakes, and sometimes I just use a filler word or two so I can move on. When revision time rolls around, I take a notebook and keep track of the syllable stress patterns while I read/rewrite. It ends up looking like this:

 And when I'm done, I have a rhyming picture book with a nice flowing rhythm and meter as perfect as I can get it. :D

Does anyone else out there write rhyming books or poetry? What is your process?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

You Tell Me...About Creativity

In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo de Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock. 
— Orson Welles 

I found this quote both interesting and kind of amusing. You always hear of the angst of writers/artists. 

Do you think it's necessary, or at least helpful, for creativity to have a drama or angst-filled setting in which to cultivate?