Monday, November 28, 2011

Is it December already?

Well, we're pretty close to it being December. Thanksgiving is behind us and the holiday season has kicked into full gear. Problem is...

No one told the plot bunnies hopping around in my head I don't have time for them to multiply. I've got cookies to bake, presents to buy, a house to decorate, holiday cards to write and a Christmas meal to prepare for fifteen guests. Not to mention all the other stuff that still insists on going on despite the holiday hoopla (kids' sports, homework, house cleaning...) See my point?

December isn't the best month for someone who likes to hit the computer keyboard eight hours a day. How will I cope? I got it covered...

*I'll take lots of notes every chance I get. Good thing I always carry that notebook and pen around with me.

*The netbook is a valuable tool for any writer, especially a mom who spends lots of time at different sports complexes. It's little and fits inside my bag. Have netbook, will travel.

*Outline and develop my characters back stories. I'm not a big outliner. I usually just sit down and let it ride, but already knowing I'm not going to have the time to hang out at the laptop all day makes me think I'll be doing more outlining so I won't forget where I was heading.

*Talk to myself - alright, I won't lie...I already do that. It's how I work out my dialogue. I have such interesting conversations with myself in the shower. Hey, whatever works, right?

I have a game plan and that will get me through the hustle and bustle of December. But, look out January because once the tree comes down, Ella Jade comes back out in full force. 2012 looks like it's going to be a really productive year!

I'll be back next month. Stay inspired and have a wonderful and safe Happy Holiday season! When you're a writer, remember...

Where there's a will, there's a way!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gratitude Galore


Thanksgiving is upon us! The turkey is dressed, the pies are baked, and families are flocking together to spend the day eating and shopping. But through all the full stomachs and "Black Friday" deals, it's good to pause and remember why we have this holiday in the first place.

To give thanks.

Sounds simple, right? But can you remember the last time you stopped and took the time to really count your blessings? Our lives are so busy these days, with day jobs, kids, spouses. We've become masters at multitasking in order to get everything done we need to. Conference calls at home while making dinner. Cramming in writing time while sitting in the doctor's office. Every single second of every day gets counted and used to its fullest extent.

So I know how difficult it can be to take a moment and just feel gratitude for everything you and your family have. Difficult because it forces you to think about what your life would be without these blessings. And that can be overwhelming to think about. But even the little things deserve recognition. The smile of a stranger when you need it. The words of a friend when you're down. The bad - yet funny - joke from a co-worker. These little things deserve gratitude just as much as the big ones, for they make each day different from the rest.

And it's so easy to get caught up in things this time of year, the whirlwind of the holidays. Through the gift giving and the big meals, we tend to forget the little things and breeze through the days until each one blends into the next. And before you know it,another year has passed.

So I ask that you always take a moment to give thanks, not just for the holiday, but every day. For every single day holds a blessing. All you have to do is stop and recognize it.

Have a Blessed and Wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The End

It’s been an odd couple of weeks. At the time of writing this I’m sitting at the day job, eating cereal and deciding that I don’t like raspberries. I’m eating breakfast, and it’s a healthy breakfast, I eat a lot of bad food but I’m trying to turn over a new leaf or in my case a whole tree.

The reason it’s been an odd couple of weeks is because I got my last set of edits for the ‘A Difficult Decision’ eshort series I’ve been working on for Echelon Press. Considering I’m still new to the whole publishing game, this has been a great little project to cut my teeth on.

Now the title of the post is ‘The End’, nope I’m not giving up on writing. I’ve got too many voices in my head that I’d go insane if I didn’t write their stories. The End is in reference to the last instalment and title of #6. I’ve been a published writer for about a year now, but I was an unpublished writer for a lot longer and I’ll tell you something, (whispers) I’ve never written an ending.

I don’t think I had much to worry about, until I started to write this instalment. Overall I had a short word count for each instalment, which meant I didn’t really have much wriggle room when writing the ending. Also I just wasn’t sure how I wanted to end up. Rachel is a genetic wolf, a person born with the ability to become an Alpha, as long as she’s bitten by another wolf. She’d gone through this quest to find her missing brother and this boy who has been helping her, is slowly changing from pain in the arse to something else. I won’t go into much detail since I don’t want to give away too many spoilers.

My question is; how do you write an ending? Do you have a set idea in your head about how your books or series are going to end?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Be Part of the Solution

Today's post isn't about writing, it's about kids and it's about life. If you're looking for writing, I'm sure that'll be back tomorrow or Monday. For today though, this matters more.

On Thursday, a news report came up on my twitter feed--another tale of suicide likely caused by bullying. This time it was a ten-year-old little girl from a small town in Illinois. Most of the time when tales of bullying come out, the victim was homosexual or something that people can look at and say "my kid's not". They are still angry over the bullying, but they feel like it won't ever happen to their kid.

Ashlynn Conner wasn't gay, and from what I can tell, she wasn't handicapped or special ed or any of those other things that make parents think this shit only happens to other kids. The bullying reportedly started when she got a short haircut and some other girls started calling her a boy. Regarding interviews with the kids reportedly involved, even the police said, "We haven't uncovered anything so severe that it would result in someone taking their own life."

Surprise, assholes, unless someone killed her, she did take her own life. People need to wake up and realize that all bullying is wrong. All bullying has the potential to kill.
Rest in Peace, Ashlynn.

I'm sitting her bawling while I try to write this. You see, once upon a time, I was a lot like that little girl. I was the one whose mom cut her hair short and wouldn't buy her the clothes that were in style. I was also the one who hit puberty early, which meant I developed way before my peers. I was the one who wasn't pretty or thin enough. Who was too tall and too smart. As much as I loved school, there were days I dreaded going because of the teasing and bullying. Had home schooling been an option back then, like Ashlynn, I might have begged for it.

I was one of the lucky ones. I made it through, but I will tell you, that little girl? The one who had every popular kid making fun of her for years? She's still inside me, and she still hurts. There is no real healing for long-term victims of bullying. Those scars last forever. So I'm lucky in that I'm still around to carry them. I'm still here to show my own kids that it is possible to come out the other side and be strong and happy. Because it does get better. But I'm also here to do my damnedest to make sure they don't give those kinds of scars to anyone else.

As parents, teachers... as human beings, we need to step up and start protecting all kids. And sometimes that's going to mean we have to punish the ones who live in our homes for their behavior. We don't get the option of writing it off as "kids'll be kids" because kids are dying.

Ashlynn Conner was smart. She was pretty. She wanted to "become a veterinarian because 'people hurt animals, and she wanted to protect them.'" That's the life that the bullies took this time. That's what all those girls are going to have to live with now--that they had a hand in killing her. Had the adults around them stood up and collectively said "No. This is not okay." and put a stop to it and punished the bullies, Ashlynn Conner would still be rescuing stray cats, and the others wouldn't have to live the rest of their lives with blood on their hands.

We're the adults. We need to be part of the solution.

(Read this now or later or never, but all quotes came from this article.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy 20th Anniversary

A long time ago in a galaxy not quite so far away, I was given a set of books for my birthday. Thanks Dad! Little did you know how they would alter my life.

I’m going to back up just a touch. A year or so before this birthday (I remember the birthday vividly but I don’t actually remember how old I was) my dad discovered I’d never seen Star Wars. He was surprised and a little appalled… He promptly rented all three of them. That was back in the days of VHS and before the remastered versions came out. Then we set up the “movie” experience in my living room. That basically meant I got to eat dinner in the lazy chair that we pulled up in front of the TV. I proceeded to watch all three movies. I can’t remember if I watched them all at once or got through two of them and had to take a break, it was a while ago. Maybe even close to twenty years. I was hooked.

Now back to this birthday, and those books… Dad didn’t wrap my presents, he just put them in a bag. No big deal for me though. So they handed me my first gift, which was the VHS trilogy of the remastered Star Wars movies. I was thrilled. Then they handed me three books. I studied them, as I’m wont to do with books, noted the Star Wars big across the top of all of them, and was super excited. Those books were Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command. (Looking at the dates of publication, it must have been 1994 or so. I was probably 13 or 14.)

still have those books. I love those books. They are still some of my favorite. Many of my favorite fictional characters stemmed from those books and Timothy Zahn is still my favorite author. I’ve read a ton of books since then, including a bazillion Star Wars books – but they still hold up as some of the best.

When I was in the bookstore the other day (Incidentally just a couple of days after my most recent birthday earlier this month) my boyfriend, the Irish Sailor, pointed out a hardback Star Wars book with a nice shiny silver cover and the words Heir to the Empire on it. I grabbed it of course and my hands almost started shaking – for several reasons. It was the 20th anniversary edition of a book that had literally changed my life, and I couldn’t believe it had been 20 years since it was published. That last bit kind of hurt my brain.

All else forgotten I sat down on the floor of the bookstore and started to read through the special introductions, the new novella, and the really interesting author/publisher notes in the margins of the book. I had to have it.

My copy arrived yesterday and I carried it around for a while, much like a kid does with a blanket, then I put it on my desk and gazed at it with tears in my eyes, then I carried it around a little more. I read the novella last night.

I’m a nerd, I know, but still… Books have the power to change lives… My first attempt at a real novel was set in the Star Wars universe. I had my own characters, but I used that huge setting. One of my all time favorite characters of my own (she’s making me say she is my favorite character ever, it’s true, I won’t deny it) started as a Star Wars character. I managed a few hyperspace accidents and brought her back to earth so I could actually write some of her stories too. I’m not sure I’d be on the writing path that I’m on without Star Wars and the ideas it has inspired.

So Happy Anniversary Heir to the Empire. Mr. Zahn, thank you for writing such an amazing book and propelling the Star Wars Universe into the written word.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What Am I the Queen of?

I'm the queen of procrastination. For those of you who models of self discipline and are unfamiliar with procrastination here's the definition ~ to put off intentionally and habitually. When I'm not growling like a polar bear because it's cold and snowy my favorite place to hide is the beach but currently the temperature is 30 degrees so that isn't working out. So as the queen I've come up with many clever inside ways to avoid the dreaded task whatever it may be so I thought I would share a few of my favorites:
(1) Looking for fun entertainment to make you smile before tackling whatever you're avoiding. Games – on facebook – the bubble witch saga. Hidden object games (HOGS for short) there are so many of these but Sherlock Holmes is by the far the best one out there.
(2) Want something a little more constructive to build the concentration before leaping into the work at hand? Since I'm a writer here's one that is fun and useful - I can almost say this isn't a form of procrastination because, well, I need characters – right? Anyway, it makes a jumping off point especially for secondary characters. Here is one I generated for a creepy bus rider - This confident gentleman has slitted brown eyes that are like two tiger-eye gems. His fine, wavy, soot-black hair is long and is worn in a dignified, uncomplicated style. He is tall and has a graceful build. His skin is dark. He has prominent ears and thin eyebrows. His wardrobe is complicated and classy, with a lot of brown.
(3) Another 'useful' website that I send a lot time at for characters and also just to see what people do with their time - It has over 200 hobbies listed with details. The hobbies include everything from cigar smoking to collecting James Bond toys to belly dancing.
Anyway, these are my top three ways of avoiding laundry, edits, or taking my dog for a walk. What are some of your favorite? Or maybe I should ask what are some of the ways you remain on track?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How to Know You're Meant to Be An Author

One way to know you were meant to be an author is you go crazy like Daffy Duck  when you can't write on a story.  Ever watch the old Looney Tunes cartoons?  It's great having children, because now I have an excuse to keep watching them!  I love those shows.  In my normal state of being, I like to think of myself as the suave Bugs Bunny  totally on top of things and always whooping the bullies.  Take away my stories though and I go nuts!
I remember going on a romantic stroll with my husband once.  A story popped into my head and I had to jot it down.  So, I whipped the tiny notebook out of my purse and discovered, to my horror, that my pen was missing!  I just about lost my mind!  My poor husband didn't have one.  I was like a junkie or something.  "We gotta stop in there and ask if I can borrow a pen now!  Now!"  We couldn't snag a pen anywhere and it was a half hour before we could get home and find one there.  What a nightmare.
Actually, it's pathetic, I guess.
But, that's one way to know.
What other ways are there?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday News for Kimber An

Great Reviews for Sweet Bytes!
Jen Gave It Four Stars
She said, "We also meet Victoria, The girl's Grandmother - who is also Empathy. And she is the Funniest - most awesome grandmother i have ever met :) Loved her! She's also set out to teach the girls everything she knows in order to survive their upcoming 18th birthday - it's the only way to get their lives back."  You don't have to be young to kick butt!
Nayu Gave It a 10/10
She said, "I think it shows Kimber An's growth as a writer, because I couldn't find anything I wasn't keen on."  This is a fab compliment because I've known Nayu a long time and she's read all my published stuff.  We reviewed together at Enduring Romance and I learned from the author/mentors that all the best storytellers never stop trying to learn.
Thanks, Ladies!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Selfish Writer: Or Why Making Yourself Happy Makes Readers Happy

Are you a selfish writer? By that I mean, are you genuinely happy when you write? Is what entertains you what in turn motivates you to…

·        Tell a good story?
·        Spin a great plot twist?
·        Delight in a really evil character?
·        Have fun with your dialogue?
·        Fill a world with passion and creativity?

It can be hard to be “selfish” when we write because there is a fine line, I think, between being self-indulgent – which readers rarely enjoy – and being genuinely selfish, or writing for oneself first.

I try never to be a self-indulgent writer, writing ONLY for myself, but in the past I’ve been very guilty of trying to please others BEFORE myself. My first book I kind of wrote to make my agent happy, my second book I kind of wrote to make the readers of my first book happy, and so on.

But lately I’ve been a smidge more selfish in my writing. I’m less concerned with what “they” might think and more concerned about what “I” think. Which isn’t to say I’m trying to shun my audience, bore them or ignore them, but instead I’m trying to guide them a little more forcefully.

And, really, isn't that our job? To do the thinking for our audience? To make them think this guy's the baddie when, all along, it's been... her? Isn't that kind of what they're paying for?

In the end, you know your story best. You’re the ones most familiar with your characters, with the world you’ve created, with the tension you’ve built and the relationships you’ve forged. Part of becoming a better writer, for me, is learning to trust myself more – to be more selfish – when it comes to making choices in my writing.

I’m tired of wondering if something my characters says will be politically correct, or if a way I’ve described one of my character’s skin color might offend some readers, or if the “cool kids” – or even the reviewers – will like it.

These days I’m more interested in telling a better story, unfiltered and headlong, and in turn I’ve been having a LOT of fun writing my last few projects. Not that I didn’t enjoy my first few, but I think as we learn we grow, and as we grow we evolve and I think I’m enjoying a little of that process right about now.

And I hope that, as I have fun with my writing, as I begin to enjoy my characters more, trust them more and trust my own choices more, that the readers will as well.

Case in point: I picked up a few cozy mysteries over Halloween. I like those, when done well. These were Halloween-themed, and I swear I couldn’t get past the first 20 pages in any of them. They just all seemed so formulaic, so rote, like the publisher called the writer over the summer and said, “Hey, listen, we’d like to move some units over Halloween. Can you whip us up a story real quick?”

I dunno, to me I could almost feel the work the writer was doing on every page and, well, I get enough of that at home. The books I’ve enjoyed most, whether they were serious nonfiction, or sappy romance, or murder mystery or police procedural or dystopian YA, were the ones where I got lost right away in what was happening on the page.

Where I wasn’t thinking about anything else going on in my life but what might happen next. When the writer was in complete control of the story from the first word and led me on a journey that was better than expected.

Anyway, those are my thoughts for this week. I feel like I’m rambling a little, but you know what I mean: I know writing can’t always be fun, and I know we can’t ONLY make choices for ourselves, but in the perfect world, we can smile when we think about our WIP and really dig into it, knowing that, if nobody else enjoys it, at least we will!

Yours in YA,


Monday, November 7, 2011

I Can Feel Her...

As some of you might know, I also do adult writing. For the longest time, I tried to make Rachel's story happen as an adult story. I must have rewritten it a half-a-dozen times. But, she was, ultimately, a teenager and I am so excited by her journey.

For some time now, I have been writing one of my adult series. I love it and it's going well. But, I can feel Rachel in there. She is bothering me. Its time for me to get started.

Does this happen to you? Do you just feel compelled to write again, like you must answer the need?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Writing YA Today

"What is a chode?" I asked this question of my sixteen year old daughter, when I heard her and her friend laughing at the new nickname they'd given one of their male friends. When she told me, I was honestly surprised; mostly because she actually knew what a chode was, and then I felt another grey hair spring forth. Am I really that old?

Writing a YA series has been a great learning and growing experience, but it had also been very challenging to walk the line between what's appealing and relating to today's teens, while keeping them engaged without crossing over into adult. I've read many YA paranormal romance and some authors are much better at this than others. The way I see it, in this day and age, the YA audience could probably teach me a thing or two, so I'm not as worried about writing conservatively as I am about writing a great story, with real dialogue and real life issues.

My goal has always been that the YA audience will identify with my characters. They're not perfect--some of them curse, use alcohol and drugs, have premarital sex, and generally make many of the same mistakes our teens today make. But one message comes through strong in my paranormal romance Until Darkness Comes, and that's the power of love and forgiveness.

Hope you all have a great Saturday. I'd love to hear what you think about writing YA today :)

Melynda Price

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Treat

Halloween was pretty much rained out in these parts and we've got a ton of candy left--not that I'm complaining, mind you. I thought I'd share the treat I gave out as part of the trick or treat blog hop I participated in.

My treat is a free short story (Pdf format)called SATANSTORM

The members of the metal band Satanstorm have been trying to put their days as child singing sensations “Band of brothers” behind them. They hope their next video will propel them to the top. All they need is the right spooky place to film it…

If you'd like a copy Click Here to pop on over to the handy dandy form on my site and drop me a line.