Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to the Books Giveaway Hop of EPICNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

**CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS TO ALL WHO ENTERED**


HAPPY SEPTEMBER!!! I am so excited for today. From today through 9/7 I am participating in the blog giveaway hop sponsored by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Buried In Books. With over 300 blogs participating, there are literally TONS of books and bookish things being given away.

For this giveaway, I thought I'd give away some copies of my favorite reads. But man, there are too many fabulous books I've read in the last year. So, I picked three of my fav older reads from earlier this year -
Anna And The French Kiss
The Liar Society
Nightshade 

Entering is easy. Just follow my blog in some way and leave a comment! Easy Peasy!!! Contest ends 9/7 as is open to the US only.


Oh! And for some fab NF books for kids, check out my giveaway on my other blog, An Intense Life.

For more giveaway fun, check out the other blogs participating , click over to the I'm a Reader Not a Writer blog and go crazy!

Way to have some fun...Yes???

And the winner is...

Wow, is it Wednesday already??? This week has been beyond insane. So, instead of a fab post...I am just gonna let you all know who won the fabulous CIRCLE OF FIRE contest from last week....

Congrats to:
MIRANDA DAVENPORT!!!!

I hope you enjoy the book and fab swag. I'm certain you will.


And, be sure to stop by tomorrow for an amazing Back to Books Giveaway Blog-hop. I will be giving away THREE of my favorite summer reads. Trust me, this is not to be missed!!!

How are things going for you???

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wherein I spill my secrets...YIKES!

Hi there! Last week, my good friend Rebecca Knight tagged me and asked me to spill my darkest secrets - or at least 10 random facts.

So, even though I think I am boring times a million, here you go - random facts or secrets that promises to be TMI


  1. I obsess about...um...EVERYTHING. No really, I do. I obsess about my house, my job, the friend that seems mad but maybe isn't, the manuscript that is sorta good but maybe not good enough. It's exhausting
  2. I once when shark diving. Coolest thing EV.ER
  3. As much as a can talk a good game - I am pretty chicken when it comes to extreme adrenaline activities. So, I may say I really want to try spelunking (and I do) - but I am way too scared to actually do it.
  4. I had a dream of competing in a triathlon once. I finally had to come to terms with the fact that it will never happen - especially since I hate running now that my knees are just...old!
  5. I'm old. No really....compared to my writerly friends, I'm pretty certain I am the oldest!
  6. I have not necessarily aged well. In fact, I gained weight. Far too much weight. The good news, however, I have lost a nice percentage of it recently. I still have a ways to go, but YAY!
  7. When I was in third grade I was obsessed with the play Macbeth. I even convinced my friends to re-enact it at school. Little did I know that would later influence some of the projects I am now writing.
  8. Before I decided to have children, I wanted to be a profiler. There is just something about understanding the minds of crazy people that is fascinating to me. Once I had kids, however, I knew I could never do that job. Never. So now, I write about crazy characters instead!
  9. Some of my favorite non-writing activities include gardening, cooking, cross-stitching elaborate tapestries, reading, and hanging out in nature (beach, mountains, etc). I only wish I had more time for those things now!
  10. One of my ultimate dreams is to go diving on the Great Barrier Reef. I am hoping to do that with my daughters and husband one day.
Okay - enough about me. Time to tag a few others. I want these people to tell me their wildest dreams - or just a few random facts.

Monday, August 29, 2011

BLOG CHAIN: True Confessions About My Career

It's Blog Chain time again! But before we get to the topic, I want to say a huge WELCOME to our newest blog chain members:

Such an amazing group of people! Today's topic comes from Sandra who asked the following:



Have the recent changes in the publishing industry affected your writing plans/career? If so, how?

Looks like it's time for a reality check. I am excited about the changes in the industry - I think any opportunity to bring great content to more readers is a great thing. I own an iPad and love reading on it. I love the ideas of enhanced ebooks, etc, etc...
Anything to get readers excited about reading.

All of that said, the changes are freaking me out a bit. So many people are e-publishing, so many are asking me if I plan on doing the same. And every time, I am unsure how to answer.

In truth, I respect my friends that have made the decision to self-publish. It takes a lot of courage and dedication to pursue that dream. And while I am sure I could do it, I am just not certain it is the right thing for me right now. I'm still wanting a more traditional route, with the hopes that Digital and Traditional publishing have their "Kumbayah" moment.

I recently hosted an interview with PROPHESY OF THE SISTERS author, Michelle Zink. In that interview I asked her a very similar question about the future of publishing. Her answer summed up my thoughts on everything -
I'd love to see us come to a place where buying a paper book is like buying the Blu-Ray version of a DVD. It would be awesome to buy a paper book and get a download code for the e-copy, too. I'd pay more to get both in one shot, and I think people would then be incented to continue buying paper books even if they had ereaders
That is a future I can certainly get behind! And one I would be very happy to embrace. I dedicated a week to alternative publishing endeavors a month ago - the future is really bright for writers!

What about you? What doe the future look like for you and your career???

To read more about this fabulous topic, check out Jon's post before me, and Abby tomorrow. And be sure to come on back Weds for a double-post: The start of a FABULOUS contest blogfest in which I am giving away a bunch of my fav summer reads, and the start of a new blog chain! WOO HOO!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

What's YOUR Best Writing Advice?


Last Thursday, I posted a little tribute to WriteOnCon and shared my fav writing advice. In response to some nice feedback on that post, I thought I'd turn the tables on all of you and ask:

What is your fav writerly advice?

Leave your best advice in the comments below - but keep in short, one sentence.

Here's mine:

Strive for authenticity when writing - with your voice, your emotions and your actions.  The rest will take care of itself.
(Ha - exactly 20 words!)

Your turn - what's your fav advice?

Oh! And I just joined Rachel Harrie's Writer's Platform-Building Campaign. WOO HOO!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Bookanista Interview With The Amazing Michelle Zink (and a giveaway)

I'm so excited for today. I have known Michelle Zink online since her first book, PROPHESY OF THE SISTERS, was released. I've always been impressed with her demeanor online and her amazing personality. Let me tell you, the more I get to know her, the more amazing I find her to be. More than once I have told myself that she is exactly the kind of author I want to be when I become more well known.


Before I get to my interview with Michelle, and the AMAZING GIVEAWAY, let's see what my other Bookanista buddies are up to:

Elana Johnson revels in WRITE YOUR BOOK NOW
Lisa and Laura Roecker is gaga for IMAGINARY GIRLS
Shannon Messenger catches THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE with a giveaway
Megan Miranda is transfixed by BETWEEN
Shana Silver delves into THE UNBECOMING OF MYRA DYER
Corrine Jackson celebrates her "Blogiversary" with YA Authors sharing Lessons Learned
Stasia Ward Kehoe falls for the cover of THE FOX INHERITANCE

On to my Bookanista Interview with MICHELLE ZINK in celebration of the release of Circle of Fire.
First, some deets about her new book:


Release Date: August 3, 2011

Basic Blurb: (from Amazon):
With time dwindling but her will to end the Prophecy stronger than ever, Lia sets out on a journey to find the remaining keys, locate the missing pages of the Prophecy, and convince her sister Alice to help--or risk her life trying. Lia has her beloved Dimitri by her side, but Alice has James, the man who once loved her sister--and maybe still does. James doesn't know the truth about either sister, or the prophecy that divides them. And Alice intends to keep it that way. 
There are some secrets sisters aren't meant to share. Because when they do, it destroys them. This stunning conclusion to Michelle Zink's Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy will make saying good-bye bittersweet for readers.
And now - my interview with Michelle. Make sure to catch the end for your chance to win a fabulous prize pack.


CF: Tell me a little about Circle of Fire.
MZ: I love this book so much. It's the perfect conclusion to the story, completing Lia's journey from naive teenage girl to strong, powerful young woman. We get more backstory on Alice, a glimpse at Lia's darker side, a resolution to the James quandary, and a lot of sexy time with Dimitri. ;) 
CF: How do you feel about ending this trilogy? Are there any characters you're sad to leave?
MZ: I'm sad to leave all of them! It's so bittersweet. These characters have been a part of my life since 2006. They literally changed my life. I think they'll always live in my heart.
CF: What's next for you?
MZ: I always have soooo many writing projects going. I'm working on a very cool YA book that will be released in 2013 as well as some other super secret projects that I can't talk about. I'm working on a thriller that I hope will be my debut into the adult market, a script with my son, Kenneth, and am contemplating the possibility of writing a companion series to Prophecy. This is a three book year for me - meaning when it's all said and done, I'll have written three full-length books in one calendar year.
CF: One piece of advice for aspiring writers?
MZ: Spend at least 90% of your time reading and writing. Talking about writing online isn't the same as writing. You have to write - A LOT - to get published. 

CF: What do you think about the future of publishing?
MZ: I think it's a really exciting time. Yes, it's sad, too. Seeing brick and mortar stores close literally makes my heart hurt. But change comes to us in this life whether we want it or not. The only thing to do is try and shape that change in a positive manner by being part of it. I'm really hoping we'll get to a point where the relationship between the digital publishing world and the traditional publishing world isn't so adversarial. I believe it CAN work together. I buy WAY more paper books now that I have an ereader, because I'm more willing to give an author I don't know about a shot in the cheaper, digital format. Then I'll go out and buy the paper books, too, to add to my library if I like them enough. I'd love to see us come to a place where buying a paper book is like buying the Blu-Ray version of a DVD. It would be awesome to buy a paper book and get a download code for the e-copy, too. I'd pay more to get both in one shot, and I think people would then be incented to continue buying paper books even if they had ereaders. Why buy the digital copy and THEN go buy the paper copy for your library if you can get BOTH, maybe with bonus content, for a few dollars more?

CF: How do you balance the noise online - you know, the never-ending cylce of fb, twitter, google+ and other distractions?
MZ: I'm not going to lie. It's HARD. As a single mother to four teenagers, I really, really struggle just balancing LIFE with writing. Throw in the increasingly rigorous demands of promoting oneself online - something that seems even more prevalent in the YA market - and it's just exhausting. I try to place my focus on the writing the vast majority of the time, but I know around release time I'll be chained to my computer for at least two weeks before and two weeks after. That's just the way it is with interviews and giveaways and stuff. The rest of the time I manage to keep my time online to a minimum by just checking in with Twitter once a day (or sometimes once every few days) and posting to my blog regularly. The last part is easy, because I focus all my energy on connecting directly with my readers and not "selling" them 24/7. To do that, I have regular features like Mystery Monday (in which I post a link to a video or news article about a recent discovery or mystery), Song of the Week (readers share songs they love that week and I pick one to post), Thursday Night Write (readers post excerpts of their own writing for comment by others), and a Friday Poll (sometimes it's silly like which kind of ice cream is your favorite and sometimes it's about politics, parents, etc.). Having regular features geared to my audience make updating my blog fun and easy. I am on Facebook quite a bit, but it's a good investment because my kids are there and this is where most of my "average" (i.e. non-blogging) readers hang out online. I just have to be careful not to get sucked in and cut myself off if I do! 

See why I think Michelle is so fabulous! To add to the fabulousity, Michelle has offered up an AMAZING prize pack to one lucky commenter. The prize pack includes:
  • Signed Copy of CIRCLE OF FIRE
  • A CIRCLE OF FIRE spiral notebook 
  • Wristbands for all three books in the Sisters of the Prophesy series 
WOO HOO!

Entering is easy - just complete the entry form below. Want more chances to win? Help to spread the word.
Contest ends, Sunday, August 28.

GOOD LUCK!

*** CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. WINNER OF GIVEAWAY WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON 9/2***


Thanks for entering! What are you reading now???

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Digging for the Emotional Truth in Your Stories


As most of you know, I am a school psychologist by trade. So, it's no wonder that I am really into the emotional aspects and depth of a story. I love it when I can feel what the characters are feeling. If they cry, I want my eyes to water a bit. If they are angry, I want to feel my own anger rising. I want to have a visceral reaction to the story and the characters.

But how do I, or any writer for that matter, create that emotional depth - the emotional hook?

I believe that emotional depth is one of the many layers needed in a story. For me, it is part of the original draft, and something that is added in and refined during the revision process.

Being a psychologist, I have spent the better part of my adult life studying human emotion and behavior.  The same techniques I use in my professional life - observations of people, being very in tune with my own visceral reactions to things, a clear understanding of why people react the way they do - has enabled me to add an emotional backstory to my pieces.  I flesh out each character so I understand their motivations, their "story".  That information helps me understand how my characters would react to things.

When the act of writing finally occurs, the use of active verbs, sprinkled with describtive adjectives and the right mix of dialogue and narrative work together like the yarn in a tapestry, weaving emotions throughout the story.

Getting the "right" amount of emotions in a scene is the hard part, I think. Since every reader is different, every reaction to emotional content is different.  In my critique groups I am an emotional nazi.  My crit buddies know that I am always looking at how characters react to things that occur - and likewise, how I am reacting to it.  Sometimes I find that while the details of the story are correct - good writing, good plot, good tension - I still am not "feeling" the way I want to in response to the events.  At that point, whether it is my piece or someone elses, I go back and read the section in question over and over, looking for the moment I lost a connection with the story.  This is often the place where the emotional context crumbles.  Once I can identify it, I can usually come up with a way to fix it.

Which leads me to authenticity.  Have you every read something and thought "no way, that person would NEVER do that"?  Maybe it happens because the character is flat in response to something big (like a friend dying, or finding out your love interest just left you - again).  And maybe it happens because a character is reacting strangely to an event (like giggling when something is profoundly serious, or angry without context).  I think emotions only work when they are authentic - something the character would DO based on what we, as the reader, know about them.

I read a book once - something most people loved (and no, I am not spilling which book it was).  Suffice it to say that I hated it.  Really hated it.

It wasn't the writing, or the unphathomable plot.  It was the emotions.  They were off - too placid and disingenuous.  When I thought about the author, I realized that none of their books have intense dark emotions.  Not one.  The stories are excellent - the author just can't go deep into the darker emotions of life.  I have experienced dificulties in this myself from time to time - not being able to really go as far as I needed to with a particular emotion because of my own hang ups.  Fortunately I have honest crit buddies who always tell me when my emotions are off.

Authenticity requires the authors to fully explore whatever emotion the character is experiencing - and fully commit to it.  This can be the hardest part of writing, because sometimes our characters go someplace too uncomfortable for us to follow.  We are left vulnerable, our insides splayed out for the world to see.  And yet, if we are going to add authentic emotions to the story, we have to be willing to "go there" 100%.

What about you guys...how important is emotional context to you?  Are there times you can't "go there"?  What do you do to work past it?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Birthdays (again) and good news

Today it's time to celebrate ANOTHER birthday! My youngest celebrates her 11th birthday today. Over the weekend we hosted a fabulous sleepover with her friends, filled with swimming, dancing, and cupcakes. It was truly epic.

But that is not the only thing we celebrated over the weekend. After much angst, procrastination and threats of either throwing my laptop out the window or deleting my manuscript, I finished a particularly difficult pass of revisions on my current project, TRANSCEND.

TRANSCEND is a YA Gothic thriller, filled with romance and classic horror elements. I love the story, even though it is kicking me in the rear at the moment.

I still have another difficult pass to finish, but for now...I am just happy I finally got this pass COMPLETED!

What are you guys celebrating or working on?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Multi-Tasking and Writing - A Bad Combo for Me


As most of you know, I wear many hats - writer, psychologist, mother, wife, Band Booster, Team mom, etc, etc, etc. Some of you have asked me, given how I must obviously multi-task in my life in order to handle all of those roles, do I multi-task when it comes to writing? Do I juggle multiple projects at the same time?
The short answer to this...
um...
NOT AT ALL!

In my regular life, I am a major multi-tasker.  I learned how to multi-task as a buyer.  I mean, when you need to juggle multi-million dollar buys, with merchandising, marketing and still meet a personal sales quota weekly - you had better get good at doing many things at once.  When I switched careers and started practicing school psychology, I found that my skills at multi-tasking enabled me to do a lot more in that setting as well.  I am able to coordinate projects, keep track of multiple cases, conduct professional training throughout the district and county, and handle both my counseling and assessment caseloads with ease. And yes, juggling the many hats I wear absolutely takes some serious multi-tasking.

However, things are very different with my creative endeavors. In the beginning, I tried to multi-task with my writing, focusing on a WiP and a different project for revising at the same time.

Um...BAD IDEA! I just can't juggle multiple writing projects - not even projects in different genres. I do a lot better creatively when I focus on one thing at a time.

Currently, this means finishing edits on TRANSCEND so I can get ready to query it. Once that is complete, I have a NF proposal to finish for my editor, and another WiP just DYING to be written - plenty of things to keep me busy through the end of the year.

What about you guys? Can you handle many projects simultaneously?  Or are you better focusing your efforts on one thing at  time?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bookanista Love for Write On Con (and some great writing advice)

HAPPY THURSDAY everyone! In honor of Write On Con, and the fab Bookanistas - Elana JohnsonLisa and Laura RoeckerJamie Harrington,  and Shannon Messenger - involved, several of us have decided to show a little love for WOC by posting our own writerly advice. Check out Beth RevisJessi KirbyStasia Ward Kehoe, and my post below for some fun advice, peptalks, and writerly insight.

And, I know you MUST have your regular Bookanista reviews, so...
here you go:

Carolina Valdez Miller and Shelli Johannes-Wells are passionate about POSSESS
Bethany Wiggins howls over HOW TO TAKE THE EX OUT OF EX-BOYFRIEND
Scott Tracey is awed by ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD
Gretchen McNeil is spellbound by WITCH EYES
Shana Silver serves up a Maureen Johnson double feature of THE LAST LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPE and THE NAME OF THE STAR
Carrie Harris is in a frenzy over STUPID FAST
Matt Blackstone blog From Bedside
Veronica Rossi loves LEGEND

And now - some of the best advice I've ever gotten about writing:

  • Read, read, and read some more.  And not just in the genre you write.  The more good books you read, the better you write (from Cassandra Clare)
  • Act like a professional writer from the beginning. (from my Blog Chain mate, Sandra)
  • Read your stories out loud (or use a text to voice app). (from another Blog Chain mate, Kat)
  • To become a better writer, you must write! (from my HS creative writing teacher way back when)
  • Always remember these rules for writing practice:  Keep your hand moving (in other words...don't stop until your writing time is over); Lose control (or keep that inner editor quiet as you write); Be specific (show, don't tell); Don't think (another way to keep the editor out of the way until revisions); Don't worry about the mechanics (that is for revisions); Feel free to write te WORST junk EV.ER; Go for the jugular (if something scary happens, step into that fear) - ((all taken from Natalie Goldberg's Wild Mild)
There you have it - some of my fav advice.
Your turn...what is the best piece of advice you have received?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On the Romantic Side!


"Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things." - Denis Diderot
I blogged last week about writing dark stories. Now, just because I write dark stories, does not mean I leave out the romance! In fact - I love a little romance. Not only the more typical things we think of, but in the broader since of relationships characterized by passionate or intense bonds.


I write YA, and YA characters are pretty intense by nature. Attraction between the characters usually has an almost obsessive quality to it.  And while my characters don't cross the "sex" line in the physical nature of their relationships, there is a strong physical element - the first kiss, the nature of their touch, the mental aspect of their physical attraction - all of this is woven throughout their intimate scenes.

Conflict is a necessary part of fiction.  And my romantic scenes always have a conflict element to them. Betrayal, denial, torment - all of these are enhanced when there is a romantic dynamic to them.  And given what I have said before, about pushing my characters to the breaking point, you can be sure that the romantic element in the stories is part of the way in which that occurs. 

What about you guys? Romance or no romance in your stories? 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Keeping it Fresh


Writing is hard. You get a great story down on paper. Polish it up. And then it's time to write another. And maybe another. Etc. Etc.

But how do you keep the stories new? How do you avoid writing the same story over and over again? Or writing stories similar to every other story out there?

I think this is one of the hardest things about writing - coming up with new ideas that aren't simply reinventions of your last story.

I think all of us tend to stick to certain themes that reappear in several of our stories. And I think we're heavily influenced not only by the books we read and critique, the movies we watch and the lyrics we listen too.  All of it has the potential of influencing our story ideas, shaping our word choices and impacting our writing.

So how, then, do we not only make sure our ideas are fresh, but also not bordering on plagiarism?

For me it comes down to authenticity  - authenticity of voice and authenticity of story. 

Stories are fresh and unique when we speak from our own characters' voices, and not merely our voice as an author - when we explore the premise of our story from the perspective of the unique characteristics that define our characters.

Not always easy to do, true.  But always worth the effort.

Another aspect of originality can be found in looking at the following Mark Twain quote:
There are some books that refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded. It isn't because the book is not there and worth being written -- it is only because the right form of the story does not present itself. There is only one right form for a story and if you fail to find that form the story will not tell itself.
To me, this speaks of being authentic as well...authentic to the actual story.  Just as I think we must speak from our characters and not ourselves, we must be true to the story - and let it tell us how it is to be written.  We get ourselves into trouble as writers when we allow the inner editor to get into the mix too soon.  True, there is a time and place for editing (gosh knows my own writing needs serious editing on a regular basis), but not initially - - - not while the story is being born.


Michelangelo believed that his job as a sculture was to reveal the art that lived in the stone.  As writers, I believe we reveal the story the lies just beyond the page.  We just need to be open to it!

How do you guys keep things fresh?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

#getPOSSESSed


My girl's love supporting writers. So, when I told them my friend Gretchen McNeil needed a little help sharing the love for her upcoming release POSSESS, they HAD to help.

Just look -



Friday, August 12, 2011

Opening Line Fun Results

As promised, here are the opening line titles and authors:
  1. "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." - George Orwell, 1984
  2. "Mother died today." - Albert Camus, The Stranger
  3. "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it." - CS Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  4. "It was a pleasure to burn." - Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
  5. "There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife." - Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book
Oh! And the bonus - well that one was mine, from my current project, Transcend. 
I hope everyone enjoyed playing! The winner of this fun little contest is:

KRISPY

Congrats and thanks to everyone who has participated. What is YOUR fav opening line?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Opening Lines and a contest!

Time for a little fun today. We always hear that opening lines are important. So, I thought we should have a little opening line contest. Here are a few opening lines from some classic books - do you recognize them?

  1. "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." 
  2. "Mother died today."
  3. "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."
  4. "It was a pleasure to burn."
  5. "There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife."
And one more just for fun - 
  • "There are so many things I could’ve remembered about that night."
And now, the fun part...leave a comment listing the names or authors of as many of the quotes as you can. I will randomly draw a name on Friday and award a prize. What prize you ask? How about a copy of Blood Red Road, yes? YES!

So leave a comment, see how many of the opening lines you can guess and you could win! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Exploring Darkness In Your Writing

It is no secret that I tend to write dark, exploring the more base aspects of humanity. I think it's the part of me that once wanted to be a profiler. Or maybe it's just the psych in me. Whatever it is, I am not one to shy away from the shadow.

Going dark can be hard for some people - forcing them to confront the shadow that exists within. For me, exploring our shadow selves is an important aspect of the journey of the self. Not because of some morbid curiosity about madness and other scary things, but because it is the exploration of darkness that enables me to truly understand the light.

I know - deep.

I write classic horror and psychological thrillers. In these projects I have explored the depths of evil as I search for understanding regarding our responsibilities in the face of such darkness. I've also explored the paralyzing impact of fear on the human psyche, and the nature - and cost - of redemption. My most recent project looks at the transformation that occurs as a person goes from ignoring their own madness to embracing it.

So, I do I go "there"? How do I allow myself to go deep into my characters psyche and bring to the story the darkness it may need?

It starts with listening - to my characters, to the story, to the world around me. This process enables me to connect with the shadow inherent in all of us. As I connect to that, I am able to take my characters to their own person breaking points. I want them to be completely spent - physically, emotionally and spiritually - by the time they reach that critical last turn in a story. I want them, and the reader, to be certain they have nothing left and no way to survive the situation they are in. And then I want them to pull themselves up and face their demons anyways. Regardless the cost.I think it is in that moment or near annihilation that my characters discover their true nature and what they are really made of.

Now, not all of my characters handle that level of ego assassination well. Some even die. But those endings are not meant to frustrate my readers. They are meant to help us all understand the nature of the shadow - and the light.

Echkart Tolle has said that "Evil is an extreme manifestation of human unconsciousness." For me, the journey my characters take as they confront their shadows helps them - and hopefully us - become more conscious.

Do you explore the darkness within in your writings?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday Musings - Getting through the month

Okay, I'll admit it - this month is CRAZY BUSY! I spent Sunday updating my calendar for the next few weeks and all I can say is HOLY COW - I literally do not have one unscheduled day between now and Labor Day Weekend.

On  the one side, the time will go quickly.
On the other side, I will have little time to breath.

I sort of knew this was coming - it was the reason for last Friday's post about balance. But, man...seeing it in writing was crazy intense.

So, what does this have to do with this post? I think I am going to streamline my blogging schedule a bit. I will blog three days a week on my Gifted Blog. I think I am going to adapt the same thing here, on this blog. So, starting next week until whenever, I am going to be blogging 3 days a week - M, W, F. I will continue to do Bookanista posts when I have a review to post. And yea, that's it. Of course, if I am part of a blog tour or something else, things may change. 

Cool?

Friday, August 5, 2011

A question for you...

Happy Friday everyone. I finished my first week back at school and didn't die. GO ME! But, I did get very clear on just how hard it is going to be to get everything finished that I need to get done. Between the day job, being a mom and wife, and the writing (you know, writing time, blogging, social networking....) I am not certain how everything is going to get done.

So, I have a question for you -

How do you guys balance writing, blogging, social networking and everything else you may have going on? I'm looking for ideas...

Thanks!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A SCARY SCENE IN A SCARY MOVIE - My kind of story!

HAPPY THURSDAY everyone! I hope you are all enjoying a fab summer with lots of fab books! I'm back at work, but I am still reading, reading, reading! And so are the other Bookanistas - just check out the list:
Elana Johnson and Scott Tracey find wonder in THE NEAR WITCH
Lisa and Laura Roecker are wild about WHERE SHE WENT
Corrine Jackson delights in THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER
Veronica Rossi is wild about WILDEFIRE
Stasia Ward Kehoe marvels at MY LIFE, THE THEATER, & OTHER TRAGEDIES

Now, on to my Bookanista Shout out for A SCARY SCENE IN A SCARY MOVIE by Bookanisto Matt Blackstone

Release Date: July 5, 2011

Basic Blurb: (from Amazon)
Rene, an obsessive-compulsive fourteen year old, smells his hands and wears a Batman cape when he’s nervous. If he picks up a face-down coin, moves a muscle when the time adds up to thirteen (7:42 is bad luck because 7 + 4 + 2 = 13), or washes his body parts in the wrong order, Rene or someone close to him will break a bone, contract a deadly virus, and/or die a slow and painful death like someone in a scary scene in scary movie. Rene’s new and only friend tutors him in the art of playing it cool, but that’s not as easy as Gio makes it sound.
Why I liked it: 


Honestly, there was a lot I liked about this book. But the standout thing for me - Blackstone's characterization of the mc. I LOVED IT! I work with many teens, and some of them are diagnosed with OCD. This was a great characterization of that type of teen.

What else did I like? The humor. There are some amazing one-liners in this book.

Enjoyable from cover to cover! Great job Matt.


For more about the Bookanistas, our own upcoming books, and our reviews, check out our website - The Bookanistas. You can also find us on Facebook, and find our crazy celebration vlogs on YouTube.

Yea, we're crazy like that!

What's on your TBR list? What's at the top???

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Getting to know the Fabulous Christina Farley

I love getting to know different authors. And it's even more fun when the particular writer I am interviewing gets some fabulous news...like signing with her dream agent! This is exactly what happened when Christina Farley and I spoke about interviewing her for my blog. In the midst of getting the interview finished she signed with an agent. How amazing is that?!? You can read about the agent-signing here. 
And now - I bring you the fabulous Christina Farley:
{{And how cool is it that we have the same initials...LOL!}}
CF: Why did you begin writing? 
cf: I had this crazy idea to start working on my bucket list. Writing a book was in it so I wrote this awful first book. I knew I had a lot to learn, but I was hooked!
CF: Tell me a little about your personal writing process? 

cf: I write first drafts very fast. I’m good at buckling down and getting it written. It’s the revision aspect that I’m just starting to get a handle on. And really that’s what sets apart the okay books from the great ones.
CF: What is the hardest part aspect of being a writer? 

cf: Not being able to write full time. I’m guilty of being jealous of writers who can wave goodbye to their children at the bus stop and get to hit the WIP.
CF: How do you manage to balance writing with other real-life things (like children, etc)?  

cf: I have to plan my day well since I work, have kids and I’m taking classes. So most of my writing is done late at night or early in the morning. The less I sleep, the more I write!
CF: Where do you find your inspiration? 

cf: Chocolate! J A lot of it comes from my travels and of course my wild imagination.
CF: What is the hardest aspect of finding an agent? 

cf: I think it was trying to figure out who was the right agent for me and my project. Before I signed with my agent, I asked a lot of questions and researched the agents I was considering. I highly recommend Casey McCormick's blog: Literary Rambles http://caseylmccormick.blogspot.com/  
CF: Is there any advice you would give other new writers? 


cfRevise. Don’t give up. Know that every word you write, even every book you write is all part of the learning process. I thank God every day that my first book didn’t get published!
CF: Random facts time:

  • Ebook or book? book
  • Salty or Sweet? sweet
  • European vacation or Tropical paradise? can I say both?
  • Laptop or pen/paper? laptop
  • Most inspiring author and why: C.S Lewis. He really pioneered the fantasy genre for children’s writers. He wrote far beyond his time. I also think he wrote beyond just a good story, but also reached for the heart too. He’s timeless and a genius.
CF: What is your current project about (in 140 characters or less)?


cf: It’s about a Korean American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. 
CF: Is there anything else you would like my readers to know about you or your books?


cf: Visit my blog at ChristinaFarley.blogspot.comand say hi!


Thank you for stopping by Christina, and CONGRATS again on signing with your agent!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday Thoughts

I just love this quote - so I thought I'd share: 


If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it.



What do you think?