Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday News: Cover Art for SWEET BYTES!

It's so gorgeous I could just cry.
C.H. Scarlett is obviously a genius.


It isn't huge news, but I'm excited nonetheless.

First, to everyone who voted for Pretty Souls (and anyone else who cares), I'm pleased to announce that it won the September cover contest at You Gotta Read Reviews! Thanks to everyone who voted :)

Second, I sent my new YA novel off to my beta readers last night. Everyone promised to have it back to me in time for me to make changes before NaNoWriMo hits (you know, so I can send it out while I'm going crazy writing). So, keep your fingers crossed for me that they like it and that the editor I'm planning to send to falls in love with it too.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm Just Along For The Ride

Happy Fourth Wednesday, Peeps!

Fall is here, and that change in season always leads me down a pensive path. I find myself lurking inside my head a lot, sorting things out. Mental fall cleanup, so to speak. And while considering blog topics, I realized something very specific.

Though I tend to be mostly a plotter when it comes to writing, for my YA series, the characters are totally in the driver's seat this time. It was a bit unnerving at first to have these fictional people vie for my attention, demanding their stories be told. I mean, I'M the author, I'M supposed to be in charge.

But as I've come to realize, that's just a bunch of hooey.

Somehow, these characters have come alive to me like no other ones I've written. I'm not sure if it's because I get to tap into all that teenage angst of my childhood, or if I'm just having fun creating them and their world. But as I write my Hell House stories, I find that I honestly don't always know where the story is going to take me.

As a plotter, this really freaked me out.

A bit of a control junkie, I even tried to force the flow of the words, to carve out a storyline that I thought would work. But each time, Sora Starwind or one of the other Hell House residents would pipe up and take me on a detour, which led to another detour, so on and so forth, until the words on the page resembled nothing at all what I originally had in my head.

After a few deep breaths and much internal dialog, I came to the conclusion that I was, in fact, not going crazy, but that I had stumbled into the world of the pantser, and that even though it was scary and unexpected, there was something freeing in giving up control to the characters and the story.

So I sat back, flexed my fingers, and braced myself for the ride. I still like to plot, mind you, but with Hell House, I've decided that I'm just going to let these guys take me where they want to. The life of a teenager is one big roller-coaster of emotion, new experiences, and tough choices. They never know what might happen next, so why should I? It only seems fair that I go on the same journey with them.

I'm just along for the ride. And hopefully, you will be too.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What I Learned at Back to School Night...

Happy Monday! Are you awake yet?

I'm a routine kind of girl...always have been. Autumn is my favorite time of year. I think it's the schedule. I know where we have to be every second of the week. I may not always like having to run from point "A" to point "B", but there are hardly any surprises when it comes to where me and the kids need to be.

With the beginning of each new school year our district has their annual "Back To School" nights. This year I have a 3rd grader and a 6th grader (I know, feel my pain, I have a middle schooler!), so that meant I had to attend two different nights for two different schools.

I had a wonderful time meeting the teachers, seeing my kids artwork and poems, and meeting up with parents I hadn't seen in a few months. While I was there I learned a few things. Things that shocked me just a bit. Perhaps its because I'm a newly published writer having gone through the editing process several times with my four novels, but what I heard had me shaking my head. I thought I'd share some of the philosophies I picked up at these two particular nights with my fellow writers/readers.

First, I want to say my children attend a really good school system and I'm in no way trying to diminish what they're learning or what the teachers are teaching, but as a writer these two topics jumped out at me.

Cole's 3rd grade teacher said they would receive 20 words per week and would be tested on them. This is basically your traditional spelling test. But, those test scores only count as 10% of their overall Language Arts grade, so don't stress yourself out. Nowadays we have spellcheck, so the kids will be fine.


Jake's 6th grade English teacher said although this is an English class it should be called Writing because that's all we do. My ears perked right up. By the end of the year they will have several "published" pieces completed. We love to write in my house, so I was stoked. Then she went on to say that because all they do is write, they won't be covering any grammar.


How can you write if you don't learn what the function of a verb, noun or adjective is? I learned all of that and I still want to cry when my editor returns the first round of edits to me.

I left both of these schools feeling a bit confused. Who are the authors of the future going to be? Will they be able to spell? Will they know the meaning of tenses? And, what about those pesky commas?

Maybe I'm old fashioned. I'm sure these points stuck with me because I'm in the middle of edits for three books, but I'm going to tell you right now aspiring writers...learn your grammar!!! lol

I won't lie, I'm constantly googling things and using spellcheck, but at least I know, in most cases, I'm making a mistake or I know something doesn't sound right. I wonder if that will be the case for these students if they've never been taught it in the first place.

What are your thoughts?


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Book Reviewer: Alaiel Kreuz the Librarian Mouse

I think ePublished authors rely heavily on blogging book reviewers especially, because we're still the new kids on the industry playground.  I used to be one over at Enduring Romance  until finally achieving publication ate up every last second in my day.  So, I tossed a few interview questions over to blogging book reviewer, Alaiel Kreuz and she graciously answered them.
Here's the interview:
Hi again Kimberley,
Here you have my answer to your questions:
1. Why be a blogging book reviewer?
- In fact I found this kind of blogs a few months ago, thanks to a friend who likes to read as much as I do and after becoming friend with a few bloggers I thought: "Hey, this is fascinating... I want to do this, I want to share my opinion about the books I read and make people laugh with my reviews",
2. How do you hope all this helps you on the path to publication?
- Somehow I believe that by doing this the readers of my reviews will recognize my writing and, if they like it, they will consider one day to read my books.
3. So, it's easy to to see what you like to read, but what kind of stories do you like to write?
- Fantasy, I love to write about fantasy, loyalty and love. And I want my future readers to have fun too so I try to balance all those things.
4. If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
- The future, I would go to the future and see what is awaiting us there, maybe get some new ideas.
5. If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
- Hum... I think I would choose:
Margaret Wise and Tracy Hickman because they were the first ones to create a character that I love even when he was being bad. Raistlin Majere in the Dragonlance books.
Anne Rice for showing me a different side of the vampires. I believe it takes a marvelous imagination to create so many different characters.
Louise Cooper for rocking my world with her trilogy "The Time Master", I believe I've read these books a hundred times each.
Meg Cabot because her fantasy and love stories are really sweet and funny.
6. Authors rely on book reviewers. Do you have some advice for us?
- For me, since I'm still new on this I believe that we, reviewers, are the ones who should be grateful to you all authors for letting us read you books before everybody else and share our opinions about them.
Until now all the author that have contacted me were really polite and nice and that surely helps.
7. What sort of books are you hungry for right now?
- I think that I'm a little tired of vampires. Don't get me wrong, I love vampire stories but right now what I love are romances that make laugh and clap (yes, sometimes I clap xD) and books about some sort of mythology.
Thanks for the interview, I had a really great time responding your questions!
Thank you, Alaiel! 
On her Blogger profile it says "Spanish girl living in her own amazing and cool world of books. I love to read. Expect to read about any kind of book and about everything I care about."  Right above that, it gives her location as Switzerland.  Switzerland!  How cool is that?  Talk about 'scope for the imagination!'
Everyone pop over to her sites now and explore the wonderful stories.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

30 days and 30 nights.

Of Writing!

Bet you can’t guess what this post is about… come on… guess… Yep, NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. November is almost upon us, and all over the world thousands of people are getting ready for literary madness.

Back in 2005 I did my first NaNo. Sometime soon that novel – heavily revised – is going to be published. I have a contract, that publisher has just had some delays. NaNo helped me get where I am today and I highly encourage anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel to give it a try.

If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s a strange event where writers all over the world get together virtually and in person to write fifty thousand words in a month. The pace is grueling. 2000 words a day will get you done by Thanksgiving. 1667 words a day will get you done by the end of the month.

The core of success at NaNo is the write-ins. Believe it or not, it is very inspiring to sit around in a coffee shop, someone’s living room, etc, along with a bunch of other people and write. Many people use laptops. Some write by hand. One person in my local region even uses a good old-fashioned typewriter.

If you do decide to do NaNo then you should check out your local group and go to write ins. You can find more out at

I know it’s only September, but it’s almost October and that gives you all a whole month to prepare for the madness.

I’m in. Who’s with me?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sorry for the Late Instalment

Me and technology do not go hand in hand, if we were walking down the street together, it would be on the other side of the road, ignoring me.

I do feature on other sites, if you want a more regular update from me and to find links to my work, you can find them all on my wordpress site.

Okay, here it is.

I get this uncontrollable sense of glee when my eshorts make an appearance on bestsellers lists. I never thought my writing would be popular, and sometimes I think that's the best way to be a writer.

You should write for yourself, something that you'd enjoy reading. If you don't have high hopes that you won't be disappointed.

But sometimes you need a little faith.

You need someone to believe in you when you don't believe in yourself. This is why I think editors and fellow writers are so important.

A little over a year ago I meet Nick Valentino (writer of the Thomas Riley steampunk novel) on myspace and through him I started to work with Echelon Press on my first novella 'What a Way to Start the Day'. All it took was for one person to believe in me, and in the space of 1 year I've had six eshorts published.

I know eventually I'd get published, but due to one person, it happened so much quicker and now I work with a bunch of people who all have faith in me.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Taking Chances: Love Triangles

Apologies for the tardiness of my post. I thought I had it up already :(

You know, when I started writing, I always thought love triangles were kind of silly. Sure a girl (or guy) might be lucky enough that two people are really into them at the same time, but in my experience when that happened there was usually an easy decision involved. It was pretty rare for two people to have an equal shot. And even though love triangles are common in both romance and YA, I don't always like to write them for one simple reason.

They're hard to get right.

For starters, you have to devote time and energy to both relationships. If you make it too easy for the reader to guess the "winner", you it means you aren't really best utilizing the trope. If you don't really have a "Team Stefan" versus "Team Damon" thing going on, why bother with it because odds are it won't really add anything to the story or the reader's experience. So, sometimes the romance is pretty straightforward for me. One couple. Period.

That doesn't mean I won't make things hard for them. And it doesn't mean I won't tear them apart for a while before they realize they should have been together all along, but in those instances, the reader will be the one yelling at the book, "No! He's no good for you!" They'll be in on things and understand that the couple who started together should be together.

But right now... I haz a love triangle.

I think I've given both characters enough time to make readers root for both of them, but I'm nervous about the whole thing. You see... it isn't a standard love triangle and it sure as hell doesn't get resolved the way most of them do. I've made jokes about it recently to my magical unicorns (aka--betas-of-awesome), but even they seem a little leery of this one.

Fortunately or unfortunately, it's the right story for this character--it's what she needs, on a lot of levels--so I doubt I'll change it.

Someone once told me that I'm not afraid to
take risks in my writing. Great compliment, but so very, very untrue. It terrifies me every stinking time. It's like being afraid of heights and trying to conquer the fear by zip-lining and bungee-jumping and sky-diving. Even if you love the adrenaline rush, there's that moment when you're standing on the edge, staring at the jump, and you don't feel even a twinge of excitement. Because in that instant (however brief), you're scared to death. That's how I feel whenever I do something in my work that pushes boundaries or isn't "mainstream" enough.

Problem is, when you're standing there, you only have two options: jump or go home. So far, I've always managed to jump.

I just always pray I don't die on my way down.

So, dear readers, tell me the truth. How do you feel about authors who take risks (small or big, differentiate if you like)?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Myth of the Bulletproof Author, Or: Why It’s Good to Slip Out of Your Emotional Armor Now and Then

Anyone who writes professionally – paid or unpaid, author or blogger, blogger or reviewer – knows the journey is often an emotional rollercoaster as well as a creative and even financial one.

You’re up, you’re down; people love what you write, they hate what you write. Sales boom, then bust; subscribers flock to your site, then leave in droves.

For YA authors, especially, the journey can be even more frustrating because so many sets of eyes follow every piece you write. You finish a book, your crit group reads it and comments, your friends and family have their say, your agent (if you’re so lucky) reads it and comments, your publisher, then your editor, then reviewers – and more reviewers, and more reviewers.

One day I can read two five-star reviews, get a nice letter from my editor, watch my sales soar and walk around thinking I’m actually getting somewhere. The next, three two-star reviews pop up, each nastier than the next, I’ll get more edits on something I thought was already done and even they seem nasty, sales flat-line or plummet and, bam, just like that – back to Loserville.

As ePubbed authors, especially, every review counts because it’s challenging enough to get them in the first place. The good ones help exponentially; the bad ones hurt even worse.

Okay, okay, so I’m not telling you anything new.

But what I’m gaining with every personal, snitty, subjective, personal review or comment or tweet or share is more than a thick skin, it’s a kind of “creative armor.” A thick skin implies you’re always wearing it, always in control of your emotions, always positive and bulletproof.

But armor, I think, is more appropriate because you can take it on or off; you don’t wear it all the time. Every time I buck up and say, “I’m not going to let another review/comment/insult hurt me,” I enjoy a few good hours, maybe even a few good days, of seemingly bulletproof confidence. But sure enough something will happen to bring me back to squares and leave me full of self-doubt all over again.

So I try to put the armor back on, and stay confident longer this time. Ultimately, I suppose, the goal is to wear the armor almost always and avoid the slings and arrows of negativity that are so easy to hurl in our wired world.

But it would feel unnatural to me to stay confident all the time. For me, anyway, self-doubt and anxiety – while not always pleasant – are part of what it means to be a writer, especially a YA author. It helps me stay humble and grounded and, most of all, a little bit of an outsider.

Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE five-star reviews, good royalty checks and lots of Google alerts. But I often need those dings and slings and 1-star reviews to remind me why I write YA in the first place; to observe and share with and celebrate the insecurity and alienation and anxiety of being a teenager.

I guess my point is it’s important to stay on your toes and keep an open mind about who you are as a writer and where you are on that endless journey. Every time I think I’ve “made it” or “learned enough” or “gotten somewhere,” a review or comment or some type of feedback – good, bad or accurate – will remind me that there’s plenty more to learn.

It’s not fun, but it’s usually true and that’s all right by me. How about you?

Yours in YA,


Monday, September 12, 2011

When make believe becomes real…pumpkins

Sorry about the delay in this post :( but Melynda Price our newest blogger posted a great intro below so make sure to drop down and give her a shout.

It's Fall….well actually the autumnal equinox is September 23 but it's close. So it's time to pack up the summer stuff and dig out the winter. AND it's time for pumpkins! I love pumpkins…they are amazing and have soooooo many different urban myths swirling around them.

First, the variety of sizes offers endless possibilities. Pumpkins come in all sizes from tiny to huge. Chris Stevens from WI holds the record for growing the biggest pumpkin at 1,810.5 pounds!

Literature has added to the magic swirling around the orange globes. Cinderella chariot started out as a pumpkin. Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin. The headless horse man uses one as his head. And as little kids we all learned Peter Peter Pumpkin eater…

Pumpkin carving, it is perhaps the biggest tradition of Halloween. But it's not the first vegetable to be carved.

Long before pumpkin carving became popular, Celtic people in Ireland were carving turnips and lighting them with embers, to ward off evil spirits. This Celtic custom was the historical root of pumpkin carving. The Irish immigrants brought their tradition with them. Pumpkins are native to America. In those days, they were not found in Ireland. As Irish immigrants came to America, they discovered pumpkins. They quickly discovered that hollow, softer pumpkins, were much easier to carve.
Carving turnips dates back many hundreds of years, to ancient Celtic customs and traditions.

This was commonly done on All Hollow's Eve, of which Halloween takes much of it's origin. Carving turnips never quite caught on in America.....thanks to pumpkins. But, you can try your hand a carving turnips for Halloween.

Did you Know? Rutabagas were also carved and lit to keep evil spirits away.

How to Carve Turnips for Halloween - - to Ward off Those Evil Spirits:
If you have evil spirits lurking in your neighborhood, you just might decide to carve a few turnips and set them out on your doorstep. Or, you may carry one with you, just in case you meet someone from the underworld, as you walk on your sidewalk some evening.

Here's how to carve turnips:
1. Pick a large turnip.
2. Cut off the top leaves and stems.
3. Cut a slice off the bottom of the turnip. This provides a flat bottom, so it will not roll away on you.
4. With a sharp knife, slice off the top of the turnip....the lid.
5. Carve out the center. This is hard to do. You can use a variety of tools, a small paring knife works best.
6. Use a small knife to cut a face in the turnip.
7. Light the turnip with a small tealight candle.
8. You can leave the top off, out put it on. If you put it on when the candle is lit, the lid will begin to cook...literally.

Now, put the carved turnip out on your doorstep, or in a window to keep all those nasty evil spirits away from your home!


Melynda Price Joins Fabulously Young ePubs

I'm very excited to be joining Fabulously Young ePubs. My blog will be the first Saturday of every month. I'm looking forward to blogging with all of you. I write YA paranormal romance. The first novel in my Redemption series, Until Darkness Comes, was recently contracted with Noble Romance. Currently awaiting a release date.

You can follow me on facebook or twitter or contact me at

Thanks and have a great day!

Melynda Price

Coming Soon..

Hey everyone,

I just heard from Tasarla. She had a big post ready to go for today and blogger somehow ate it. She is in transit, not back until late tonight. She will re-post the blog this evening. So please be patient.

Its coming!

Rebecca Royce

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Daughter on Story Structure

I wasn’t born knowing how to sort out a good story. My stories dump on me like a pile of junk in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. So, I’ve had to learn story structuring the hard way. Most helpful was the advice of Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Blake Snyder's Beat Sheet, and the Monomyth
My eldest daughter has been fascinated by all this and we have great fun picking apart books and movies together.  We’ll be watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 and I’ll be weeping over Dobby’s last words before dying, “Such a beautiful place…to be with friends.”  And she’ll pipe up, “Whiff of death!  It’s the All is Lost moment!”  And I’m over there bawling and thinking she’s nuts.
So, anyway, we were talking about favorite books and movies a couple of weeks ago and she said something like, “Hey, the different books in the series are like different beats in a story structure.”  And I’m like “Huh?”  We proceeded to ‘beat out’ the Harry Potter series and we could see it.  Anyone else?  If so, this could help a lot of us who write series, I think.
If you're unfamiliar with what I mean by story structure and 'beats,' pop over to Blake Snyder's Tools  page, scroll down and click on the Beat Sheet.  Read that and come right back here.  I think you'll find it very useful, if you're a storyteller too.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Movie Time

I've been a vampire fan for ages and since I've been revisitng my love of bad boy vamps on film I thought I'd share some of my favorites.

Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula (made for TV 2000) Love, love, LOVE this! Mixing history with a touch paranormal.

Check out Rudolf Martin as the ultimate Vlad in this trailer for Dark Prince

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) Love this version. Oldman is spectacular. Hopkins a neat Van Helsing, Keanu is hot in a frock coat. If we could cut out Winona it would be even grander :P

Nosferatu (1922) Ewww ewww, creepy! Get him away!

Count Dracula (Made for TV 1971)Nice adaptation of Stoker's book with French film legend Louis Jourdan being so suavely chilling.

The Night Stalker (made for TV 1972) Lots of fun with a pain in the butt reporter /vampire hunter.

Love at First Bite (1979) Lots of fun with a cute romance.

Dracula (1979) Played a bit fast & loose with Stoker but Langella was to die for as the sexy count.

Vampire (made for TV 1979) Ranks up there with Night Stalker on my list of TV faves. I'm a sucker for arrogant vamps and no one does arrogant like Richard Lynch.

Salem's Lot (made for TV 1979)Creepy

Fright Night (1985) Creepy and fun. I hear the new remake is good.

Lost Boys (1987) Fun, fun FUN with some thrills

Innocent Blood (1992) Not the best movie but they shot the opening near my house.

John Carpenter's Vampires (1998) Action adventure vamp hunting

Shadow of the Vampire (2000) Ironic & creepy story of the filming of the above Noseferatu.

Dracula 2000 (2000) Gerard Butler is yummy and it has a neat spin on Dracula's origin.

Lost Boys: The Thirst (Direct to video 2010) Not the best sequel but it captures the spirit of the original by reuniting the awesome Frog Brothers.

So, what are some of your faves?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Teaching Them Lessons

Teaching her a lesson.

Let me clear right up front, when I write Rachel Clancy, my YA heroine in my Warrior series, in a lot of ways she writes me and not the other way around. What do I mean by that? Rachel has a story to tell and a definite opinion on how it is to be told. Much more so than any other book series I write, the character of Rachel has determined her own destiny without much input from me. Frequently, she surprises me.

In my real life, I have three young children. The oldest is six years old. So I haven’t faced their teenage years yet. But, I imagine, that there will be lessons that they have to learn as teenagers—as I did—when they hit those years. I hope that I will be around to help guide them through that time.

For right now, I am facing the interesting dilemma of helping to guide Rachel through her formative years in the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic paranormal world where vampires are running around trying to eat her. Some of the lessons that Rachel has to learn to move forward are not necessary things that I would want my own children to have to experience.

For example, in Driven, the second book in the series, Rachel is faced with a dilemma of having to decide between two young men vying for her attention. Actually, this happens to her twice in the book in two very different ways. But I digress.

The reasons why one of these young guys is better than another would not necessarily hold true in the world we live in today. What they value are not necessarily what we value. Having said that, I still need them to be likable. I still need grownups who look at these books to be fine with their teenagers enjoying these characters. All of this means that, as an author, I walk a fine line, particularly because Rachel is such a dominant character that she is almost writing her own books.

But she has lessons to learn. And they’re my job to teach them to her. Even if she makes it difficult for me.



Sunday, September 4, 2011

Leanne Dyck - A YA Author in the Works

My journey to becoming a YA author began when I was born.
Don’t panic. This isn’t a novel – it’s a blog. I’ll get to the point. I was born dyslexic. Simply put, dyslexia means that my brain doesn’t process information in the same way as a so-called “normal” brain. (To learn more about dyslexia, I highly recommend Ronald D. Davis’ book The Gift of Dyslexia.) I spent too many years thinking the differences in my brain meant that I was stupid.
My grandmother helped me see that perhaps I was capable of success. To honour her memory, I wrote the short story Because She Believed In Me. This story was first published in the Island Writer literary journal and I’ve also read it over the radio. Following this success, I decided to submit it to Kaleidoscope – a magazine that champions the disabled.
Renamed If Not for Her, my story appeared in this magazine in January 2011.
Orca Publishing’s prolific author, Robin Stevenson, gave me feedback regarding this story. She encouraged me to write more about my experiences as a dyslexic.
After many false starts and half finished stories I began to write about my time as a Katimavik volunteer. (Katimavik is a nine-month government-run national service youth program for participants 17 to 21 years of age.) For me, Katimavik was not only life-changing but also provided insight into the disabled in general and especially into my own disability. While in Katimavik, I wrote ‘limitations on my accomplishments are only set by my inability to accept the fact that I can succeed.’
Thanks to my grandmother and many others who have helped me along the way, I have been successful. The first draft of my YA novel is currently with beta readers. I can’t wait to share this story with you.
Leanne Dyck’s

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday News J.A. Campbell style.

A little bit of news on my front. My YA Urban Fantasy novel, Senior Year Bites is the book club book of the month for September at my online writing group on Kelley Armstrong's forum. If you are interested in following the discussion or joining in, you can follow that link.

Also, I'm just over halfway through the sequel to Senior Year Bites, tentatively called Summer Break Blues.

That's it on my front. Have a great weekend all!