Tuesday, July 31, 2012

This Blog is Now Retired

Thanks so much to everyone who participated!  It was a lot of fun.  Also, who knows?  We may reopen one day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Picnic Magic

We all know what happened when Alice fell asleep on the river bank following a picnic with her sister.  There's something magically about the entire idea of a picnic be it on a riverbank, a favorite spot in the woods, in the park, or on the beach. You're packing up and 'escaping the normal.'  All the items purchased and placed in the picnic basket are meant for this adventure. Gone are the rules of sitting at the table, of using china, and silverware – it's time to step outside the box.
Writing is like going on a picnic. You start with a basket – there is an endless variety to style but the purpose is the same – to hold your picnic items.
A plotter's picnic basket...
 What type of basket are you?

Tradition outliner....
A blender of methods...

A panters....

What type of pinic is this going to be? A gathering fo friends and family? Some downtime? What type of story will it be? Will it be a mystery if so will it be blood or cozy? Or will it be a romance?  A science fiction or fantasy? Etc. Whatever the type it's meant to give life to the contents inside.
Once you have decided on the type of story you want to write, you have to decide who your characters will be. Characters are the food for your basket. No two people pack the same items like no two writers create the same characters.  
When you look into your empty basket, your mind races with ideas of what to place in there. It disregards possibilities as quickly as they form until finally you've decided on what you want to take. Will it be a simple sandwich and chips picnic or a chicken and pasta outing?
The spot you've selected for your picnic is as important as what goes into the basket. The same is true with your story's setting.  Once you arrived at your selected picnic destination a special feeling fills you.
Only your imagination will limit the possibilities of a picnic and the same is true for your story. So this summer pack up a basket/bag/cooler and head out for a couple of hours. Take a notebook/Ipad/laptop and create. Let the magic of the picnic seep into your story….
Tasarla
Here is a recipe for a peanut butter cookie I always make regardless for the type of picnic...

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter or margarine, 1/2 cup peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add egg and beat well.
  2. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir. Add oatmeal and stir.
  3. Drop by teaspoons onto greased baking sheet, and press each mound down with a fork to form 1/4 inch thick cookies. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 minutes, or until cookies are a light brown.
  4. To Make Filling: Cream 3 tablespoons butter or margarine with the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, and the cream. Spread filling onto half of the cooled cookies, then top with the other half to form sandwiches.

Monday, June 4, 2012

How much love?


I was very sorry to hear that Justin Bieber had a concussion. I hope he's feeling better.  The truth is that I hadn't really heard of him until the movie about him came out.  I actually watched it one night with my husband (our kids are too young for him, the youngest is seven, and they're all boys, not his demographic)  and I was impressed by how much talent the kid seems to have.

I am always shocked every day by just how many times Justin Bieber seems to be trending on Twitter.  His fans go out of their way to start phrases that end up trending world-wide.  Things like "Real Girls Always Love Justin."  Its amazing.  It is said over and over again enough times that it becomes a twitter trend world wide.

Wow.  That is love.

In college, for a short period of time because I was just slightly too old, I really started to love NSYNC.  I went to one of their concerts after spending so much time thinking about them that I wonder if some of my grades couldn't have been better Junior year.  I paid a fortune for the tickets and they were far back from the stage. It was like looking at five little figures running around. I could see them on a large screen that made me wish I'd stayed home and watched them on HBO.  It would have cost less.

And I remember realizing that it was sort of sad that I really really liked those guys (well. Lance.) and I would never be any closer to any of them than the far distance from the stage.  I'd devoted so much time to them and I would never know them, not really.

I think that is why books are so fulfilling for us. We can have a fantasy and we can really know that fantasy.  We can read about them any time we want.  Which is why a character like Edward Cullen can become so consuming to its audience.  Somehow, it just seems healthier.  You do know that the character. The author gave you the chance to really be part of their lives.

Unlike NSYNC, who took a few months of time when I didn't want to contemplate the rest of my life because it seemed to scary, or Justin Bieber who will never know those girls who chase him around endlessly.

What do you think? How much love is too much love for people we'll never know?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My First Time...




Today, I’ll be attending the Wisconsin RWA conference. This is my first event, and it’s with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that I’m going. Oh, and did I mention this will be my first book signing for Until Darkness Comes and my first agent pitch? Lots of firsts, and I guess that’s okay, someone’s gotta be the newbie, right? I’m not sure what to expect but maybe it’s better that way.
I look at where I am, where I was, and where I still need to go on my literary journey of success, and I’m reminded that we’re all at different places in our lives, and in our careers. I guess the most important thing is to enjoy the ride. J

I've been slaving over my Bonded in Exile pitch. I think in the last 2 days I've rewritten it at least twenty times. I decided to post it today, and would love your feedback. Here goes:

Bonded in Exile is a 143,000 word paranormal romance, about an exiled angel who accidentally becomes bloodbonded to his enemy, a female Nephilim. Silas must decide if saving her is worth risking his eternal life, because Emily is either his road to salvation, or the catalyst to unleashing hell on earth.

Emily has no idea what, or who, she really is and discovers her entire life had been nothing but a lie.

Silas wants nothing more then to go home to his world, and has been exiled to earth with his legion, hunting the wicked Nephilim for centuries. One is left, and she holds the power to send them home.

But not all the angels want go back, dissension is brewing, and a mutiny is inevitable. Silas has no choice but to bring the Nephilim under his protection to prevent her from falling into enemy hands. He struggles against his growing attraction to Emily that's getting stronger by the day. Emily's heart starts to soften toward the angel who makes her feel alive in ways she never imagined. She wants to help Silas and stop the evil threatening to take over the world, but in doing so, she'll be required to make the ultimate sacrifice and give up the angel who's captured her heart.
Have a great day! Wish me luck!!

Melynda Price

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Birthday Blog

So...it's my birthday. Not one of those milestone type birthdays, but close. Anyhow, the big question I always get asked every year is...

"What do you want for your birthday?"

As a kid, that was always easy to answer. Kids make lists for these kinds of things, so parents can pick a gift they actually want. Action figures, dolls, games. As they get older, the lists change along with them. Then parents choose from things like video games, iPods, and other techy stuff. Things get more expensive as kids get older, so then we come to the whole gift card thing. "Just buy me a gift card and I'll put it toward that new laptop I want."

For me, it's always been about books. I asked for books as a kid, a teenager, and an adult. Even now, I read several books at once, always ready to read a few pages whenever I have a few minutes to spare. I read everything, from biographies, to romance, young adult (obviously). The written word is precious to me, and I can think of no greater gift that someone can give me.

Luckily, I have a husband who likes to read as much as I do. I'd rather have books than flowers for any occasion, and he totally gets that. Even now, we're reading the Hunger Games Trilogy together. Gives us stuff to talk about. And after fifteen years together, that is a valuable thing.

I'm sure I'll have lots to say about the books after I read them all, so be prepared!

Because it's my birthday, and I'll read, 'cause I want to!

Christle

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ideas....

How does a writer get the plot bunnies to come out and play? Tickle the muse into whispering ideas? Of find the well of ideas?
I'm done with the final book in The Night of the Gryphon series, Prince of Light. So it's time to start something new but where does ideas come from? A common comment people say when they find out I’m a writer is 'I've tried but I just stare at a blank page and wonder what to write.' Idea come of anywhere, part of it is what you're thinking and looking for. Some things just seem scream 'write about me.'


How can you not write a story about these? The building is where I work. I knew I wanted to write either a steampunk or horror set here. I've decided to do both.




Sometimes it's an item that will tickle the plot bunnies into action…
 


I saw the picture of all the doors and one plot bunny crept out. What if on your eighteenth birthday, you woke to find yourself in a room of doors? From a note you learned that you must choice the course of all things. You get five tries. The journal is what I used to write plot notes…


Journals themselves can inspire the plot bunnies to come out and play…While usually the plot bunnies are already forming a game plan when I start shopping for a 'journal' or a notebook to write the story details in. The furry guy with all his eyes and teeth definitely threw out some nibbles for the plot bunnies.
Open me and read about how I haunt...

Open me and read about a place far far away

Open me and read about
the gate I guard


Ideas come in any form, from any place, and at any time. The source is as different as the writer. Some great writers could look at the pictures I posted and see nothing. Others could look at them and different plot bunnies begin to play.

As a writer or someone who wants to write, you have to find your personal 'well of ideas.' Are you inspired by pictures of people? Pictures of places? Or does reading an article in the newspaper set your mind to whirling with ideas?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Writing in Reverse: The Backward Way to Finishing Your WIP

So, I just finished my latest WIP and I did something new this time: I wrote it backward. Or, I should say, I rewrote it backward.

Generally my rough drafts for a YA novel will wrap up at around 40,000-words. Since I strive to get at least 60,000-words by the finish line of a “completed” draft (are they ever really “final”?), that leaves me about 20,000-words of layering, threading, adding, detailing, fleshing out at the like.

Generally I’ll wrap up a rough draft, let it sit for a week and then dig back into the book again starting from page one. But I find that when I do that, I generally hit my word count by about three-fourths of the way through and, mentally, I just run out of stream toward/before the end. I know I shouldn’t, but it’s human nature and I do.

That always leaves me with endings that feel a little rushed, or maybe incomplete or unresolved, and that bugs me. Not that I’m not happy with my endings, but to me I know why they wind up that way and I’m hypersensitive to doing that again.

So, this time I started backward. After I hit my 40,000-words I did the usual: I let it sit for a week or two so I could come back to it fresh. But, when I did, I started from the Epilogue and wrote backward.

I don’t meant that I read/rewrote from the bottom of the page up, but that I would start with the Epilogue and rework that chapter. Then go back to Chapter 25 and rework that, then Chapter 24 and so on.

It felt… weird. At least, at first. It had naturally taken me a few months to write the book so I forgot a few details from the very beginning. Like, I thought the soldiers were wearing camouflage but really they were supposed to be in beige, so I had to clean that up. I thought the main character didn’t know about the security cameras all over town, but it turns out she did.

So, yeah, I had to go back and scrub those but overall I feel like the novel is much better paced this time. The end didn’t feel so rushed. I could treat each chapter like its own little “scene,” write it in a kind of mini-vacuum while already knowing the beginning AND the end and, frankly, I think that helped improve each one.

I dunno, I kind of dug it and think I’ll do it that way from now on. What about you? Do you have a certain “system” for revising, refining and polishing off your rough draft? As always, the comment boxes are open and I’m sure we’d all love to hear about it…

Yours in YA,

Rusty

Monday, May 7, 2012

Remember to thank your editor

Hello everyone,
I've recently heard that Subversive will be releasing in July. When I have more specific information, I'll let you know!!

But today's post is about the importance of a really good editor.  I had a hard time writing Subversive. If you read Driven, you know that Rachel went through some pretty heavy duty emotional upheaval in that book and she's not feeling too fabulous at the beginning of Subversive.

I wrote the book, submitted it, and it was accepted for publication. But, even I knew something was missing. The good news? My editor picked up on what it was and helped me to bring it to the book it needed to be, which I think, now, is the strongest in the series.

So, for me, I'd like to thanks Terry for her endless help on this book and as writers we need to remember to thank our editors often.  Thy make our books shiny.

Rebecca

Monday, April 30, 2012

Shades of Rose YA Promo Company...



Shades of Rose YA Marketing
 
 
Just wanted to let all of you YA authors know there's a new PR company geared toward helping you promo your books.
Shades of Rose YA Marketing
They will be opening their doors in a matter of days and are currently looking for blogs to host their upcoming tours. If you're interested in gaining exposure for your blog and promoting fellow authors, being a tour partner is a great way to accomplish those goals!
Check out their site and fill out the form on the Home page to be included.
 
While you're there take a peek at their promo packages. They have some nice choices at reasonable rates.
Happy Monday!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Oops...

I completely forgot I was supposed to blog today, and now the day is almost over. However, if you are interested in learning about the madness that was my week at the Romantic Times Booklovers' Convention, I'm doing a 3 part series on it at Writings of a Wicked Book Addict. Part 1 went up today...
http://wickedlilpixie.com/2012/04/21/rt-hangover-er-round-up/

And, I promise something absolutely genius for next month. Right now I'm still a bit in recovery mode.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Brainstorming Fun

I apologize for missing my post last month. I have no excuse, but I also don’t know what happened. One day I looked at the calendar and it was almost April. Where March went, I have no idea.

Today I’m going to talk about Brainstorming.

I have a couple of writing friends that I talk to on instant messenger a lot. They’re real life friends too, but they’re both writers and we are often on the same wavelength. When I’m stuck, many times I can bounce ideas off of them and solve my problem in a short amount of time. It’s great. They say writing is a solitary activity, and in a way it is, but the internet has changed that a lot too. I do love instant messengers.

Sometimes we’re so much on the same wavelength that it’s scary. This happens a lot with one of them. Story time!

One lonely Sunday night about a month ago, I was sitting at my computer trying to do something with myself. My writing work was done for the weekend and I wanted to play. What do writers do when they play? They write stories for fun. I was pondering possibilities when my friend popped up and proposed an idea for a new world that we should work with in the future—we write together a lot too. I said cool, because I liked her idea, but neither of us were intending to work it out that night. We chatted about some other stuff, then suddenly I had an inspiration and decided, what the heck, I’ll start a story based on her idea. Just to be clear, the idea was for us to share, I wasn’t “stealing” as it were. I threw an idea out at my friend and we were off to the races… I didn’t end up getting any actual story written that night, but four hours later we had a complete world built. I had a complete crew for my airship and some of the plot for my first story in the world. My friend had characters, plots, etc for her stories. We even had a lot of them tied together. We were so much on the same wavelength that we’d send the same idea to each other at the same time. No joke, our IM’s almost mirrored each other for content. It was amazing and a little freaky.

Happily I have the first novella in this world completed, only a month later, and the plots for two more stewing. It was very exciting and nice to work in a new world for a while. This one isn’t a young adult either, though I suspect it would appeal to many age groups. Sometimes small, spontaneous projects make writing fresh again, and brainstorming with a friend is a ton of fun. So, if you’re in a slump, need a change of pace, or just need to bounce ideas off of someone… call a writing friend. A lot of times it helps them too.

You can look for my Steampunk novella later this fall.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

When Bad Reviews Become Good Fun (for Some)

Literally as I was writing this post, I ran across a random reviewer posting his reading status of one of my books. I’m usually pretty happy to see those. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by kind and, hopefully, fair reviewers who are generally happy to read one of my books.


But this reader, man, he was out for blood. Goodreads has this bar where they tell you a reader’s progress, and 20% in this guy was already discounting the science, and by 39% in he was openly snarking on my clothing choices for certain characters.


At first I was hurt, then I was embarrassed, a tad ashamed, but after awhile his comments, reactions and outright vitriol became… amusing. This was clearly sport for him; blood sport, apparently, and the more vicious and gleeful he got the less meaningful his review became.


He was no longer reviewing the book, I felt, but the anger he was experiencing while reading the book. It happens. One kindly blogger once explained to me that a really bad review simply means you’re producing a strong reaction in readers.


I get that; and that’s all good. Of course, I’d prefer to get a positive strong reaction. I don’t set out to write bad books, and I don’t enjoy getting bad reviews; even ones that are so overblown and self-important that they become a certain form of entertainment in themselves.


Still, it was a good lesson in my ongoing education of dealing with bad reviews. I just hope most of you can avoid learning it for yourself for as long as possible!


Yours in YA,

Rusty

Monday, April 9, 2012

It's all about Goals




Last week was spring break for the kids in our area. So it meant a week without my day job for me, a time to focus on my writing, evicting the dust bunnies (I served notice mid-winter break), and start converting an unused bedroom into an office.

For my focus on writing I composed a reading list of books I've wanted to enjoy but haven't had time to, picked out a book to read on plotting, and of course set word count goals.
When Thursday came, I knew I was in trouble. I'd reached none of the mid-point in my goals for the week. Time to reassess….

Goals are dreams with deadlines. ~Diana Scharf Hunt

And my deadlines were looming four days away….

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars. ~Les Brown

This is true but sometimes you need to hit the moon…. For example, edits need to be returned on time. The thing about setting goals is to find the 'ideal'. Ones that are achievable yet stretches you.

So looking back, I can say my goal list was a bit beyond realistic BUT also I suffered from an extreme case of shiny object disease.

Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire. ~Arnold H. Glasow

This is so true in my case. While I probably couldn't achieve all the things on my to-do list, I could have crossed more off. One of the main things I was reminded about this last week – I don't do well with 'free – floating' deadlines. I had all week to accomplish the things on my list without any interference from the day job. So I relaxed – to the point of almost slipping into a coma. The result of this? I lost a week I needed! Now I have to squeeze those things around my day job schedule.

I need to break my goals downs to 'micro' goals. For example, for Monday, I have a 1k word count goal before leaving for my day job. This will mean no playing Bubble Atlantis on facebook which I love to do. I also have goals sprinkled throughout my day.

So how do you set goals? How do you keep them?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Is There Life After Marketing?

Available in eBook or Paperback on Amazon

Until Darkness Comes, my debut novel, released last week, and I’m quickly discovering that writing the book was the easy part. Wow…so much to do in so little time. Blog touring and marketing can seem like a full-time job in itself. I remember a time when I had countless hours to write, and I now find the thing I love, my passion, is taking a back seat to other demands. I guess like with all things, it boils down to balance, and with time comes efficiency.
I find it interesting when I talk to other authors, they all seem to have their “favorite part.” For some it’s the writing, some it’s the editing, and others, it’s the marketing. I’d love to hear from you and find out what do you love most about being an author? J
I have been blessed by the support of my editor, publishing company and fellow authors, who have all taken the time to invest in me and support the launch of Until Darkness Comes. Thank you, everyone, for your support!
Have a great week!

Melynda Price



Sunday, April 1, 2012

Updates and Stuff...

So, first off let me say...isn't my new cover pretty? Subversive! The third book in The Warrior series is in the midst of edits. Hopefully, I'll have release date news soon. For the record, I still misspell Subversive every time I write it. Perhaps I will learn one day not to pick a title I can properly type.

As for me, I have been writing my adult line pretty extensively. Busy. Busy. Busy. But in the best possible way.

How are you guys doing?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Catching Up

Well, it's been a little while since I posted. Life gets in the way a lot these days. However, I have been able to get some work done!

The first three books of the Hell House series are back up at Amazon - YAY! The whole entering the self-publishing world has been nerve-wracking and exhilarating at the same time. But I wanted my books back out there so that readers could continue to enjoy them. Now I need to get hard at work on the next one! (tentatively titled A Little Bit Zombie, BTW)

I've also been busy with my adult writing, getting a contract for a release this summer. Edits have me pretty wrapped up, along with the day job. Never enough hours in the day!

Managing to squeeze some reading time in there as well. I've read the first two books of Amanda Hocking's Trylle series, and just finished The Hunger Games. Probably will plan a blog about those guys in the near future.

So, what has everyone else been up to?

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Hunger Games - Movie or Books?



Lots of hype going on this past weekend over the release of The Hunger Games movie. My brother and sister-in-law went, and then she went back later that night with her fourteen year old daughter to see it again. My brother didn't read the book, but he enjoyed the movie. Several of my friends went as well. Some read the book and others didn't.

I didn't read the series yet. It's been on my "to do" list for a few months, but I haven't gotten around to it. I know... I know... you're probably asking if there is something wrong with me? Yes, I've been under a rock. The writing rock, that is, and it has left little time for me to read for pleasures these days, but I swear to fix that this summer when my life slows down. My Kindle is full of amazing reads.

 I'm one of those people who almost always enjoys the book ten times better than the movie. So, I'm thinking I have to sit this one out and save my forty bucks (if I take my husband with me) or else my reading experience could be ruined. I'd probably get more out of the movie if I read the book first anyway.

What are your thoughts? Did you read the book? See the movie? Both? Do you have any words of wisdom for me?

Ella

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Can You Feel the Music?

When I first started writing toward publication, I couldn't comprehend the idea of writing to music. I thought it would be distracting and I'd end up typing song lyrics instead of the words that were meant for my manuscript.

Then... the manuscript stalled for me. A friend suggested writing to music. I cringed. And then I agreed to try it--if she could recommend some non-classical instrumental-only stuff. So began my love affair with Apocalyptica, but also... I finished the manuscript and developed an addiction to writing to music.

I moved on from instrumental-only and created playlists for every manuscript. When I first began doing it, I tried to make each playlist completely unique, but I found that didn't work for me. Too different meant that it was a distraction, just as I'd always feared. Then, rather than trying to make everything different, I just picked songs that spoke to me AND to the story. In the end, that means a lot of my playlists feature the same artists, and often the same songs, over and over.

Now, that seems logical enough, but the funny part is that I can tell them apart. If I have on the wrong playlist (even if 50% of the artists/songs are the same) it distracts me and I can't sink into the music to write what I'm working on. For me, the playlist itself--the very order and slight variety of songs--speaks to the story. It's my entry point to the world, and without it the writing is harder.

The playlist for Pretty Souls was one of the first I created. For fun, I want to play a little game. Some of you have read Pretty Souls, but for those who haven't, here's the blurb:

My life followed a simple pattern. 
Run to keep my inner wolf asleep. 
Make sure my blood-sucking foster sister, Cass, feeds. 
Hunt for supernatural trouble when we should be sleeping. 
Keep my grades up and my head down. 
It was mostly a game. 
Until people started wandering around like living zombies. 
Until people I care about started getting hurt. 
Until the menace came knocking on my front door. 
Game’s over. 
Time for the soul-stealer to realize just because he’s hunting something doesn’t make it prey. 
Cass and I bite back. 
~The Paranormal Response Team~ 
Saving the World Before Breakfast


There is also an excerpt here.


With what you know of the story, what song (or songs) would you have put on the playlist? 

(At the end of the week, I'll post the actual playlist I made when I wrote the book. And if anyone nails one of the songs, I'll draw one of the "right" answers randomly and give away some sort of prize--to be discussed with the winner. As a hint, there are no Apocalyptica songs on the soundtrack, but there's one below just because I love them.)




Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When Posting, How Polite is Too Polite?

I was entering a few book giveaways on Goodreads.com the other day (yes, I’m officially hooked on that “giveaway crack”) and whenever I came across a compelling new (to me) YA book, I would click on the author’s website or blog to check it out.

It was a really nice way to get to know more about some fellow YA authors and I ran across one in particular who was a grade-A, hmmm, how should I put this? A grade-A… personality. And I mean that in the epically most awesome way ever.

Seriously; she had attitude to spare and it was such a… revelation. I think she was ranting about some bad review or another and just really going to town; about readers, writers, publishers, the whole ball of wax. It was great to read because I was like, “Wow, she said what she really wanted in a really honest and unvarnished way… and no one’s running her out of town with pitchforks and torches!”

Personally, I try to come off as very polite, non-feather-ruffling and generally a helpful, nurturing kind of guy. Part of that is the teacher in me; I was trained to be politically correct, helpful, nurturing and generally stay in control of my emotions in front of a class full of kids.

 Part of that is just me; if you meet me I pretty much am polite, helpful, calm, even-keeled, etc. But it’s not ALL of me. Drive with me for five minutes and you’ll hear enough cussing to get an NC-17 rating. Stick around while I read a bad review and you’ll hear a whole lot more! And I certainly have VERY strong feelings about writing, reading, reviews, bad reviews, publishing, agents, eBooks, print books and more.

 I just always figured I should avoid sharing that hardcore, personal or angry or venting or rant-y stuff with my young, impressionable readers. Then I remembered, most YAs don’t exactly flock to my blog! (Come to think of it, most adults don’t either!) And even if they did, wouldn’t they prefer getting the “real” me versus the watered down version?

 It’s not that I’m some big, fat phony when I post. I’m always honest, but I’m generally… polite. I don’t swear or foam at the mouth or rant and rave and, well, would it be so terribly bad if I did once in awhile?

 So, I dunno, reading that YA author’s blog the other day was a real revelation. It kind of made it “okay” to be me, or at least a little bit more like the real me.

 I don’t think I’ll be swearing and ranting and raving like this one author, but she’s far from alone. I know of several YA author blogs where writers, readers, even reviewers are quite frank, fun, wise, sarcastic, sassy and with plenty of… personality.

 So what do you think? How polite is too polite? Or should bloggers abide by a certain “code” and keep themselves to themselves? Comment boxes are open; fire away!

 Yours in YA,

 Rusty

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Where's that Opener?



Across the Universe begins with a chilling opener of a girl watching her parents go through an excruciatingly painful and horrifying cryogenic procedure. What makes this scene even more compelling is her dad entrusting her with the decision of whether she will become a popsicle next, or opt-out.

Immediately, I was hooked and so were all of Beth Revis’ loyal FB followers, whom she takes the time to individually thank after the credits roll at story’s end.

So, how important are opening scenes to the success of a novel?

In my opinion, they’re everything! Not only for the reader, but also for the agent and editor, who need to fall on your hook hard and fast. They simply have too many other manuscripts on deck to bother with a slow boil story.

In my novel, Time Warped, I begin with Lanie Landry’s overwhelming compulsion to pull the fire alarm at her high school.

“The lure of the box had been strong for months. Almost an obsession, really. What would it feel like to release the siren? To hear the mad shrieks of chaos, the smattering of running feet in all directions, the pounding of my heart bursting through my chest?”


Once Lanie pulls the alarm, there’s no turning back for her character. The fire alarm becomes the catalyst for shocking change, of Twilight Zone proportions, in which she’ll meet a midget, an albino, a red-headed cheerleader and the love of her life—all in an insane asylum!

In closing, I’d love to know have you found your opener?

Cheers,

Tracey

Tracey L Pacelli
Award Winning Author
Time Warped
www.timewarped.net

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Where do you come up with this crap?


***To learn why this pictureof Queen Victoria is here, please scroll to the bottom for a History Lesson.***
Writers get this all the time. People ask where we get inspiration. It really depends on mood and how much chocolate is on hand as to how we answer. Here's my answer and only because I just bought some truffles.

The answer is

everywhere.

Okay, that's way too general. I’ll try again.

I was born with insatiable curiosity. And I grew up being told to shut-up all the time. This meant that I spent almost all my time inside my own head.

Point of fact –

A silent person is not stupid, deaf, or blind.    

I have many interests and I always go to the books when I want to know more. 

All those ideas need to be pondered and explored.  Since no one was interested in discussing, say the genealogy of the British Royal Family in regards to hemophilia, when I was a kid growing up, I had to sort all those ideas out myself.  That morphed into writing stories.

And so I began writing my own books.

Yesterday, I was watching Colonial House, a living history project on by PBS, and I wondered how they organized their community, particularly the buildings. I drove my husband crazy getting him to fix our Internet connection so I could look it up.  I didn't need to know these things.  I’m not writing a new novel set in Colonial America…yet. But I was still desperate to know. My husband understands this and he also brings chocolate too, which is probably why we’ve made so many babies together.

So the next time you're sitting at Starbucks and you see someone with an iPad and her chin resting on her hand, elbow on the table, while she stares out the window, it's quite possible she is a writer.  And you may very well be witnessing the creation of the next great best-selling novel.

Gosh, I hope it’s me.

If you want to go ask, that's fine. She won't like to be snatched out of her imaginary world though.  Better bring chocolate just to be on the safe side.
***
History Lesson:   Queen Victoria was an ambitious woman who really liked to have her way with the Prince Consort, which resulted on lots and lots of babies.  When they grew up, she married most of them to foreign rulers.  Before long, she was called 'the Grandmother of Europe.'  One of her granddaughters, Alexandra, married the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II. 
Hemophila is genetic, but females are only carriers. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001564/   It's the male offspring that get nailed with it.  Nicholas and Alexandra had four daughters and one son.  Some believe it's the fact that their only male heir had a deadly disease contributed to their downfall.  The Tsarina was terrified for her son, fell under the spell of a madman who claimed he could heal the boy, poor decisions were made, revolutionaries were pissed off, many bad things happened, and the entire family was eventually murdered.  That's it in a nutshell, but you can already see where it provides plenty of inspiration for any fiction-writer dreaming up stories about powerful families and wars and such.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bat-ting a Thousand



I’ve got a recommend for you this week. A short story we recently discussed in my YA book club called Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block, originally published in 1989, but wonderfully relevant today as we hurdle toward the Aquarian Age. It’s a funny little tale about a young woman who takes control, not only of her body, but of her life, and fashions a unique home-life for herself that includes two gays, a filmmaker, and a child fathered by all three!

Weetzie Bat is the type of non-judgmental character who presents an argument for tolerance, accepts people as they are, and does not insist there is only one right way to live your life and be happy.


Not to be all political, but in this day and age where congress is trying to enforce their will on womens' rights, legalize intrusive procedures, and place obstacles in the path to birth control--while men pop their Viagra pills at will--then what we have here, young readers, is a monumental failure to communicate!

Weetzie Bat is the type of non-judgmental character who presents an argument for tolerance, accepts people as they are, and does not insist there is only one right way to live your life and be happy. And this writer accomplishes all of that while telling a highly descriptive and entertaining story with pace in her Wonderland called Los Angeles.

After reading Weetzie Bat, I now look at Duck Hunting in a new way, with my Slinkster Dog at my side!

Cheers,

Tracey

Tracey L Pacelli
Award Winning Author
Time Warped

Monday, March 5, 2012

Young Adult Books and Political Humor

I saw this video and I knew I just had to share it here. This is meant to be a joke. I'm really not political. I just thought it was amazing how mainstreamed Young Adult Books have become. When I was a kid, they never would have been included in this kind of joke.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Celebrating the Release of Until Darkness Comes


                                                 Available April 1, 2012 from 5 Prince Publishing

A guardian angel… A forbidden love… Eternal consequences… 

    Olivia Norton was born with a gift—a gift heaven has sworn to protect, and hell is bound to destroy. Her perfect world is turned upside-down when two handsome strangers, Max and Liam, step into her life. Olivia soon discovers that her ‘Mr. Perfect’ is actually a perfect nightmare.

    The rules of engagement have changed and Liam, Olivia’s guardian angel, is forced to cross dimensional borders, or risk losing the woman he’s sworn to protect. Suddenly, thrust into a world unlike anything he’s never known, Liam isn’t prepared to come face to face with the young woman whose life he holds in his hands.

    But nothing is as it seems, and secrets abound that will ultimately force him to choose between two impossibilities. Max will stop at nothing to finish what he’s started, and Olivia is soon plunged into a battle between good and evil. Her very life hangs in the balance as two forces fight to win her heart.

I'm pleased to announce the upcoming release of my novel, Until Darkness Comes. This is the first book in my four-part Redemption series, and was written to appeal to readers that enjoy series such as Twilight, Hush, Hush, and Wicked Lovely. An excerpt is available on my website.

Thanks for stopping by :)

Melynda Price

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Leg-Up on the Competition



Watching the Oscars this past Sunday had me asking many important questions, such as: How hilarious would the Oscars be if Sacha Baron Cohen hosted next year? And why didn’t Hugo win best picture over The Artist?

Now don’t get me wrong, I loved The Artist. Throwback pics are right up my alley, along with tap dancing and appreciating the bliss of non-verbal communication. But, for me, Hugo was an unmitigated masterpiece that perfectly blended 3-D with the art of a great film—derived, first and foremost, from a book! So, why didn’t it take the big prize?

And then as I watched in delighted glee as Angelina Jolie struck the pose twittered around the world, it dawned on me that the key to success is getting a leg-up (shameless pun intended) on the competition.

Throwback pics are right up my alley, along with tap dancing and appreciating the bliss of non-verbal communication.”


Hugo whimsically hit the theatres, striking a chord with viewers and critics alike, but it failed to show its gams and stop traffic in the way, for instance, It Happened one Night did—which incidentally won for Best Pic and made Claudette Colbert’s leg just as famous as Jolie’s, in her day.

The Artist
, though technically silent, packed a loud wallop with its glitz and old Hollywood glamour, gaining a leg-up on the competition by bringing black and white back in vogue.

I’ve noticed the book publishing world has even taken hold of this trend, fashioning many striking YA covers, of late, using black and white, with a dash of Hollywood red to give it some pop.

So, as I sit down to edit my new YA novel, I wonder will it have a leg-up on the competition to establish myself as The Artist, or may it perhaps win a Hugo, instead? Only time and a good pair or stockings will tell!

:) Tracey

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Voices Inside My Head


Now that I'm published I've realized something pretty important. Apparently I'm not the only one who hears voices inside my head. There are a ton of us out there. I think they refer to us as authors. ;)

For as long as I can remember, the dialogue has always played out in my mind. I realize most people who hear voices in their head usually think that's a problem. I, on the other hand, think it’s a problem when I don't hear those voices. Some of my best stories come from a few lines of conversation created when I'm standing in line at the supermarket or when I'm driving to the mall. Sometimes I don't even make it to the mall because I have to turn around and start putting to paper what I've just come up with. Well, that's not entirely true, since I always make it to the mall, especially when Macy's is having a sale. But, you get my point. (I always carry a notebook in my bag for such emergencies!).


The plots and conversations keep flowing, but I'm not complaining. I'm glad I've finally found a place to work them out and get the stories published. Now I don't feel so crazy!

I hope you'll get lost in my words.

Ella
xoxo


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Swift Inspiration



You’ll often hear about music inspiring the writer. Stephanie Meyers wrote Twilight with the help of a steady stream of musical tracks that accompanied not only her books, but the movies too.

My teen daughter is the same way, musically shuffling her way through mountains of daily homework with the help of her ipod. I tried it myself, but found I’m just not hard-wired that way. My music is silence, and through it I hear my muse best. All else is simply a distraction for me. But I do so admire those artists who can absorb every note and give back to the world something equally artistic in return.

Taylor Swift, a gifted young singer who writes her own music, recently accomplished the reverse. She was asked to write a song for the upcoming movie, Hunger Games, so she voraciously read the novel in only a few short days. Swift grew inspired by Collins’ words, much in the same way that Meyers’ literary efforts were inspired through song, and the result has produced a new single of exquisite ethereal quality never achieved by Swift before. Safe & Sound sounds nothing like Swift’s previous tunes, and that’s what I love best about it. She nails the paranormal vibe like she was born in a graveyard and her video mirrors her song perfectly too.

In a recent interview Swift said she sat on the gravesite of a couple who lived and died in 1853 and began thinking, “What were their lives like?”

I’m not Swift’s mom, and yet I feel proud of the way her career is evolving. To give yourself over to the muse and bravely create something out of your comfort zone is an act of courage to be admired. Kudos to Swift on her eerie new song. Hope the movie will live up to its soundtrack.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Quick Update

I'm really drawing a blank on trying to come up with something witty to say. It's probably because I'm tired. I'm not sure how I managed to get anything done when I had a day job. The thing is, my life hasn't changed much. I still look after my son until 7pm and then from 7 onwards I write, well I write if I'm not walking the dog, or doing dishes or having a bath.

I got some really good news this week, I'm going to be in an anthology. Which is going to be released this time next year. This will be the first thing I've done that will be in print. I hope that this is a sign of things to come. The idea is 'Once Upon A Clockwork Tale' and if you can't guess it's steampunk fairytales. My idea is based on Hans Christen Anderson's 'The Wild Swans' I'm so excited about this. I'm also working on edits for 'A Impossible Task' which is the sequel to my Molly O'Brien series.

So it's back off to do more edits. If you've got five minutes I'd love for you to check my blog out http://www.ellagrey.wordpress.com it has some musings on it and some reviews.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Skiing Is Like Writing

I'm actually off on a ski weekend with the extended family right now, but thinking about the trip the other night got me pondering all the ways that skiing is like writing.

Yeah, it kind of looks like that.
Anyone can get to the top of the hill, strap on some skis, point them down the slope and go. No lessons, no skills. They just barrel down, screaming their heads off until they fall, collide with someone else and fall, or (miracle of miracles) reach the bottom... and fall. See? Without knowing how to stop, falling tends to be how it happens. That doesn't make them "skiers," it makes them fools who fall down. It's sort of how anyone can sit down at their laptop and "write." Now, I won't argue that they aren't "writers" in that if they make it to the end (the bottom), they might fall down, but they still made it. But it doesn't make them "authors" (aka for the point of this post--"published writers").

You see, an author has gone through the lessons (learning craft). They've fallen down over and over again (written a lot, and even failed a lot). But they don't quit getting better. Mastered the green slopes? Awesome, move on to blue. Feeling good there? Let's try some blacks, maybe with moguls. Authors are the ones that strive to reach the double blacks. And sometimes, when things are good, they'll be able to hop on those slopes and hit ever curve and jump and land every trick.
There's no feeling like it.

But sometimes they'll still fall.

There will be some literary patch of ice or a broken binding on a boot or... something that gets in the way of that perfect run. The thing they don't tell you about those harder hills is when you fall there, the wipeout tends to be more extreme than anything but those crazy point-your-skis-down-the-slope-and-go falls.

I had a little tumble recently. One that knocked my skis off. For a little while, I sat there on the writerly slope, looking at my skis and the hill and wondering if it was worth trudging back up in the uncomfortable boots to get my skis and finish the run. After all, that rock that made me fall wasn't going anywhere. There's nothing quite like freezing your butt off while sitting in the snow and trying to convince your brain that you should move.

But if you want this gig, if you want to be an author, you have to finish the run. And then you have to get on the chair lift and do another one--if only to prove to yourself that you can. It's not about how spectacularly you fall. It's about how stoically you get back up again.
Smart man that Bon Jovi guy ;-)

So, while I'm on the slopes, I'll be planning for my next literary run, and damn it, this one's going to be clean and beautiful. And that little tumble? It won't be forgotten, but it won't matter anymore.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

To Finish is To Win

I used to do a lot of endurance racing with my horse Sabaska. For those who don’t know, endurance races are really long trail rides in short periods of time. For example 50 miles in twelve hours. They are organized by the American Endurance Ride Conference or AERC. The motto of endurance racing is To Finish is to Win. Essentially, as long as you come in under the time limit with a healthy horse you’ve won. (Note they don’t worry about the condition of the rider too much. LOL).

Training for endurance takes hours and hours and more hours in the saddle. They say you should ride the number of miles in a week that you intend to ride in a competition. For example if you are training for 50 mile rides, you ride fifty miles in a week. If you’re training for 100 mile rides, you ride 100 miles in a week. Some of this will be on flat land, some steep, some will be at a walk, some at faster gates. Sometimes you’ll get off and run with your horse or walk behind them as they go down very steep terrain.

There is a lot to learn when you start out racing. You have to learn how to safely condition your horse, how to shoe your horse, what kind of tack to use, the different tricks and practices that help you and your horse make it through long distances in short periods of time safely. You study books, you talk to more experienced riders and you get your butt into the saddle and you ride. Your horse has to learn a lot too. She has to learn to drink whenever water is offered, eat often (this one isn’t hard) and to expect long hours of trotting with very brief rest periods. She also has to learn that just because you’re back at the trailer resting, it doesn’t mean you are done for the day.

It is a hell of a lot of fun.

Writing is a lot like endurance racing. Can you see how?

Training to write takes hours and hours in a chair, staring at a computer. You have to write, read books, do research and practice, practice practice. Your subconscious also has a lot to learn. It has to learn that just because you’re done for the night, doesn’t mean the story is over. It has to learn to concentrate for the entire story and help you get the novel out. The writer has to learn those skills too.

It’s also a hell of a lot of fun.

Both take discipline. You can’t finish a fifty mile ride without practicing and you can’t finish a novel without a lot of work.

The great thing about endurance? You get a lot of time to think about novel ideas.

And the most important similarity. If you finish a story you win. :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

B&N Ever After



As a little girl. I used to make paper pamphlets and fill them with fairy tale origin stories, such as: where thunder came from, how Cupid got his arrows, and other such fictional tales that were sure to make me famous one day, I was certain.

Very often, my mom would take me to our local bookstore and I’d look to see if any of my stories somehow magically made it to their shelves. But, alas, not one ever appeared. Someday, I’d be famous like Dr. Seuss or Peggy Parish, I vowed, and every child would utter my name at bedtime.

On into my adult years the dream never died, but only increased to department store proportions. Barnes and Noble became my goal, a place I revered above all others.
B&N has been for me one of my happy places where I wile away the weekends, browsing through books and sampling all the tasty treats it has to offer. Every time I’m there, without fail, my mantra remains, “One day I’ll see my books on these shelves!”

Not an easy task for a writer to see their dream on display at their favorite B&N store. But just today, my life turned a new chapter and my Noble Prince Barnes called upon me, asking if I’d like to hold a book signing on March 10th at my favorite location, from 1-3pm.

“One day I’ll see my books on these shelves!”


They’ve ordered my novel, Time Warped, for their store and after the signing ends, my books will remain behind, proudly displayed on B&N’s shelves. Hopefully each and every one of them will find the perfect home or castle to live in and will be read by young adults and their parents, who may one day realize their own dreams for success.

But as for me, next month I’ll get to feel like Cinderella going to the ball, signing copies at the place I love best of all. What better news could a girl receive on Valentine’s Day? Sure beats a box of chocolate, by far, but I’ll greedily take that too from anyone offering.

Happy Valentine’s Day!