Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Did you ever see a movie that keeps your internal furnace stoked for days? Haywire is that movie for me! Still trying to unravel the plot in my mind, but none of that is supposed to really matter, or Soderbergh would’ve written a tad more dialogue.

What I liked best was the kick-arse character of Mallory Kane. This Black-Ops Rambo was the energizer playboy bunny of tomorrow.

Yes, I know the Men’s Online Magazine came out with their annual list today of the top 99 most Desirable Women and Sofia Vergara Va-Va-Voomed her way to the top. But I’m not a guy, nor do I have boobs on the brain. Don’t get me wrong, I love Sofia’s babaloo accent and impeccable comedic timing, but I prefer a more empowered role model who can physically overpower any man and still stun in cocktail attire!

“Sofia Vergara was named #1 on the men's online magazine's annual list of the Top 99 Most Desirable Women”

Hunger Games gave us Katniss and that’s just fine. Keep ‘em coming I say and let us give the patriarchal order a run for its money. It’s the girls’ time to take down the bad guys with a little heart and soul that the men often lack in their Terminator cyborg characters.

Let’s Rock the new-age with a host of female Rocky’s that have enough True Grit to pin John Wayne to the floor. No disrespect to the Duke intended. I’m just a little Haywire today!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Taming The Muse

Jumping into this writing thing was a bit overwhelming to me a few years ago. I'd somehow managed to get my first complete manuscript published, and had a huge learning curve to overcome. Edits were brutal and had me in tears. (I've gotten MUCH better at that) Promo was a mystery to me. And after all the chaos was over and I had a book out, relief was short lived, because everyone wanted to know "what's next?"

Focus has always been an issue for me. I get distracted easily and my brain wanders. Part of that is just that there's so much I want to do, I can't settle on one thing. That has probably been the hardest thing for me to deal with in my writing life. There are deadlines, and contracts, and you have to keep writing so that you don't get lost in the shuffle.

But my Muse, well, she's temperamental. She doesn't always want to write what needs to be written. And new ideas get in the way of finishing old ones. I have learned that I sometimes have to appease her by switching projects frequently in order to keep the words flowing. Even so, it can be difficult to focus when there's always a new idea on the back burner.

And she likes to give me great ideas when I'm trying to sleep. Don't know what that's about, but I now keep a notebook to jot things down so I don't forget them later. I suppose I should be grateful the ideas keep coming, but some sleep would sure be nice!

So my Muse and I have learned to strike a shaky truce. Mostly. As long as I promise to be grateful for the ideas (even at 3am) she gives me and never let her get bored, she seems happy to help me keep on this writing path. But I have learned that you never really know what's around the next turn, even with the best plans. But that's ok. It's part of what keeps her interested and me on my toes. (and perpetually sleep deprived)

Stay inspired and Happy Writing!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Topanga and Me!

One of my favorite kid shows is Boy Meets World. Why, you ask? In a word, “Topanga.” I loved her from the moment that card-carrying, freak-flag flying hippie graced my screen and enticed her way into the heart of lovable, boy-next-door, Cory Matthews.

Through seven seasons, my daughter and I watched Topanga/Danielle grow from an awkward misfit into a gorgeous femme fatale, thanks to the considerable acting and comedic skills of Danielle Fishel.

A couple of months ago, I found myself in the unique situation of meeting Danielle, in the flesh, in Midtown, NY. She had natural eyelashes as long as a caterpillar’s, a great figure to die-for, and a winning personality to match. How I met her, needs to remain a mystery for now, but what transpired after we got to know one another is a story I’ll annoy everyone with, till the day she slaps the gag order on me!

Of course, as a shameless self-promoter of my Young Adult new novel, Time Warped, I mentioned to her it had been recently published. She politely asked what it was about, and then became my captive audience as I overwhelmed her with my enthusiasm for what I consider to be a most entertaining and unique tale of a troubled teen who wakes up one morning to find herself in an insane asylum back in 1969! Danielle was glued, or rather pinned to her seat, by me. I wasn’t about to let her escape.

"There has got to be a rip in the universe, somewhere."

When I was finished with my epic length description of the book, she said she’d love to read it. Well, to my surprise, I just so happened to have a copy in my bag. Imagine that! So, I signed it and handed it over and she promised to give it a read on her way back to L.A.

Yesterday, I checked my email and was stunned to receive one from her, mentioning she’d just got done reading Time Warped and absolutely loved it! She even wrote a paragraph about it and said if I wanted to, I could use it as a blurb to promote the novel.

I’m still on cloud 9, and you guys are actually the first to know outside of my family. That’s how special you are--you should be extremely touched!

Here’s what the lovely Danielle Fishel wrote:

“I couldn’t put Time Warped down because there is something so relatable about Lanie Landry’s quest to find out the truth about herself and her family. The journey she takes is full of surprises!”~ Danielle Fishel, Topanga from "Boy Meets World," and "The Dish"

Wow, I still can’t believe she liked it. She really, really liked it! There has definitely got to be a rip in the universe, somewhere!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bad Habits

I've got plenty. No, I'm not talking about biting my nails or leaving the cap off the toothpaste (I may or may not do that). I'm thinking more like tenses, commas and repetition. Last year at this time I had no idea just how hard writing was. I've always had the plots and stories in my head, so I thought all I had to do was write them down. Was I in for a shock. I'm not a complete novice when it comes to writing and editing. I have a degree in journalism, so I've had my fair share of English and writing courses. But even that background couldn't prepare me for the rigors of a PROFESSIONAL EDITOR!

When I got the first round of edits back on my first book I thought maybe I had chosen the wrong profession. I had no idea just how many mistakes I had made. I was in a panic and totally embarrassed. My publisher offered me some really good advice. She basically said no one is perfect and if we can learn to correct one mistake a book we're good. I thought, hmm, it's gonna take me twenty books to get this thing figured out.

Run on sentences, POV switches, show don't tell, comma usage, dialogue tags, repetitive words... does it ever end? Yes, it does. With each set of edits I learn something new. My writing does get stronger with each book. And, I think my editors may want to scream a little less when they open my manuscript for the first time (at least I hope they do).

Study your craft and learn from your mistakes. It'll make each attempt at a new manuscript a lot easier. It also makes writing much more fun.

Stay Inspired...


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Teaching Cats

A short story I wrote a while back where Doc, my vampire-hunting Border Collie tries to teach other animals how to hunt vampires.


“All right you, um, Cats listen up.”

“Doc, I’m not a cat,” Rose, a small Poodle in the front row said.

I tilted my head. “Well, no. You’re a dog. You are supposed to be insulting when you teach things. I saw it on TV.”

“I am a cat. I am not insulted by being one. Perhaps if you called us all dogs. I would find that suitably insulting.”

I looked at the brown Tabby sitting next to Rose and flattened my ears against my head and whined a little. Teaching vampire hunting was turning out to be very difficult. I wished I had Nelli, my Border Collie love, as a student. She would pick up vampire hunting as effortlessly as she herded sheep.

“Okay. Well, then Cats and Dogs, listen up.” I ignored the protest from a couple of other students in the back row. “This is how you hunt dead things. Also known as vampires. They smell dead, so you’ll know what they are.”

“Lots of things smell dead.” The Tabby yawned, putting a delicate white paw over his mouth.

I suppressed a growl only with the greatest of effort. “Yes. These dead things walk though and are very dangerous.”

“I see. Carry on then.”

Rose whined and put her paws over her nose. A few other cats flicked their tails, seeming unconcerned. Some of the dogs looked at each other like they still weren’t sure what was going on. The horse in the background just swished his tail. I hoped they were actually listening.

“Very Dangerous.” I felt I had to say again. “To catch a vampire you look it in the eye and stare at it. You can catch their minds for a while. Then your human can stake them. Let’s practice the eye.” I sank down into a working crouch and stared at my class. A few of the cats shifted nervously. The dogs wagged their tail nervously and the horse, well, did horsey things. I sat up and cocked my head. “Get it? Okay. You try.”

They all stared at me with varying degrees of intensity. The cats were the best at it. There were no other Border Collies in the class.

“Right. We will practice that.”

“So, your human kills the vampire. What do you do when there is no human around?” A Siamese cat with stunning blue eyes asked, stretching lazily.

“Oh I know!” A Lab in the second row spoke up. She jumped up and down, wagging her tail happily.


“Us dogs stare them in the eye, just like you Doc.” She wagged her tail again and paused to scratch her ear.

I waited as patiently as I could. The cats all looked at the Lab with varying degrees of contempt or annoyance.

“Us cats take over the world, while the dogs are staring at dead things,” A black and white tuxedo cat said from the front row. He licked his paw while he spoke, displaying not only wicked claws, but small almost opposable thumbs. I stared at him, feeling distinctly uncomfortable.

“Um, no.”

The Lab finished scratching. “Yeah, we stare at em, and the cats jump at their faces and scratch their eyes out.”

I, and several of the cats, immediately saw the flaw with this plan. The Siamese shook her head and sauntered away. The Tabby laughed and the tuxedo continued grooming his strange paws. Rose, my Poodle friend, whined again.

“If the cats scratch their eyes out then you won’t be able to hold them still with your stare.”

The Lab wilted. “Oh. Sorry Doc.” She stopped wagging her tail for about five seconds then started again. Grinning.

I sighed. “Ok, let’s practice the stare again. On my count. One… Two…”

Doc chose J. A. (Julie) Campbell to write his stories. He’s a vampire hunting Border Collie and you can read more of his stories on Julie’s website www.writerjacampbell.com. Julie writes fantasy for adults and young adults when she’s not training her own Border Collie to hunt vampires or riding her horse.

This post originally appeared on Devin O’Branagan’s Tails Blog: http://www.tailsinc.com/2012/01/devins-tails-i-create-characters-with-tails/

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Good Things Come in Dwarf Packages"

After watching The Golden Globes Sunday night, I saw a little man deliver a big speech, reminding us all about the horrors of bullying. Or, as George Carlin would probably say, “I saw a little guy remind us of how many big, stupid people there are in this world.”

Peter Dinklage, in his acceptance speech for supporting actor in a TV series, paid homage to an English bloke by the name of Martin Henderson, a dwarf now partially paralyzed after he was attacked last year. Some stupid thug approached him outside an English pub and without saying a word, he simply picked him up and threw him to the ground.

“I saw a little guy remind us of how many big stupid people there are in this world.”
No arrests have been made, but it’s suspected that the bully was influenced by some rugby players who took part in “dwarf tossing,” shortly before the incident took place.

For those of you who aren’t aware of Dwarf Tossing, the game is very much as its name implies and involves tossing dwarfs clad in Velcro padded suits onto mattresses or Velcro-coated walls. The idiot who throws his dwarf the farthest, wins. In other circles, it’s also known as “Smeagle Throwing.” Sounds funny, I know. But when you factor in the danger and humiliation for all the Smeagles of the world who are participating in it, somehow it ceases to tickle the funny bone.

"No arrests have been made, but it’s suspected that the bully was influenced by some rugby players who took part in 'dwarf tossing,' shortly before the incident took place."

Martin Henderson can no longer find work as an actor and one can only imagine how far the anger within him must now run. Perhaps the idiot who tossed him believed Henderson was a dwarf from Middle Earth with magical gravity powers. Unfortunately, Mr. Henderson was not any different than the rest of us. And that’s just the point.

In my new novel, Time Warped, one of my favorite characters is a rather feisty midget by the name of Esme. I suppose that’s why I felt so strongly pulled to defend all the vertically challenged people of the world today. Though Esme is small, she be mighty, and it would do well for all of us to remember that good things in life do often come in dwarf packages and should never be tossed.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Rejections or brushing yourself off and trying again

Evening all.

I got my first rejection last week. As rejections go, it actually wasn't that bad but I have to admit it was a bit of a shock. Being a writer means that you have to take rejection on the chin and move on. While its a nice thought, everyone will not like your work. Sometimes you'll get a bad review and it feels like a kick to the chest. Your story is your baby, you spend months building it up and making it the best that it can be, then somebody says it's crap and you end up questioning yourself.

All I can say is, take a deep breath, focus on the good reviews and know that you're a talented writer. You wouldn't be published if you weren't.

So I got my first rejection, that day I went over the story and followed the advice of other writers. I submitted it somewhere else. A rejection from one, is not a rejection from all. I'm still nervous about it but it's fine. I'm going to throw myself into another project and pretend that I'm not counting down the days until I find out if it's been accepted or not.

I hope you're all well.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Great Stories & Real Life

I come right out and hit this on the nose in Sweet Bytes.  Ophelia, the heroine, catches her hyperactive twin sister, Bianca, throwing out all her vampire books, including Twilight, because suddenly vampires are *real* to her.  And it's not so much fun to think about sparkly, romantic ones anymore.  Suddenly, they really are monsters out to eat her.  Ophelia digs the books out of the garbage can and puts them back on her shelves, also very upset, and says-
“So what?  The way I see it great stories let you try out life without getting hurt, you know, like falling in love or battling bad guys.”
And Bianca replies:   “But, the bad guys are real!”

“Yeah, and if you let them take this joy away from you, then they win!”  Ophelia crammed the last book in.
So, you may never need to battle Lord Voldermort like Harry Potter or sacrifice your boyfriend to hell to save the world, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but you will have really tough choices to make.  Like, what if you find your true love in high school and he gets into an awesome college on the East coast of the United States and you get into an awesome college on the West coast?  That's an easy one compared to others.  Some of the kids you sit with in class right now might be shipped off to war and shot and killed. 
What if your elderly grandmother is raped and murdered and dumped like so much garbage?  Evil does exist and you've got to be ready for it.
I'm battling Tendonitis, which makes my hands and arms hurt and go numb, while at the same time I'm getting out my first adult short story, Drive By Valentine, on February 6th. (It's a contemporary romance, but rated Sweet so it's okay for me to share it with my younger friends.)  I have to face the harsh reality that if I keep writing like I am, I may develop carpal tunnel syndrome (if I haven't already) and eventually become permanently disabled.  This is the dragon I'm fighting right now.  I know it's trite compared to what others must deal with, but it's still no fun at all.
I've come to the heartwrenching decision that, once my short story's out, I need to stay off the computer until I've spent a lot of quality time with my physical therapist, completely reorganized how I work, and she's given me the green light.  This may delay the next novel in the Ophelia Dawson series.  From the start, my goal was to put out a new book every six months.  I really thought I'd be all right taking off time during Christmas vacation, but that didn't work.  Will keep you posted.  Yes, it's making me crazy because, even though I don't make much money, this is still the best job ever, second only to being a mom.
In the meantime, I'll be reading a lot, since I can't write, and that always brings me joy and clarity and courage.  Of course, I want to write about what I'm reading!  And I can't. And that's maddening.
But, at least I don't have to worry about zombies crashing through my front door.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

You Never Forget Your First (Review, That Is)

Whoever you are, whatever genre you write in or age group you write for, your first review is a watershed moment. Good or bad, one-star or five-star, you’ll never forget it.

Here’s why:

·       It means you’re published: Forget whether your book is due out from one of the Big 6 publishers, a small or indie press or it’s being self-published, these days published is published and your first review just confirms the fact that you’re accomplished one very big writing goal.
·       Anticipation: You’ve probably been on pins and needles for weeks, maybe even months. Getting that first review is like the long wait for Christmas morning is finally over, even if all you get in your stocking is a lump of coal. At least you’re “in it,” now, and the waiting is over!
·       It’s just the beginning: It was a fellow YA author friend’s “book birthday” today and as I watched the reviews start showing up on Goodreads.com I got excited all over again. I know this day is just one of many where she’ll be inspired, disappointed, jazzed, hopeful and a little bit bruised, but all the better for it as her journey as a YA author begins in earnest.

I can still remember the first ever review I got for Zombies Don’t Cry. It said, and I paraphrase, “Rusty Fischer writes like a girl!”

I was so relieved. One thing that had been bothering me about writing YA was that I was also writing from a female character’s POV and, for one reviewer at least, I’d passed the test.

It was a real vindication of all I’d been trying to achieve while writing ZDC, and while not everyone has agreed with that reviewer since, most have; and that’s given me the confidence to write more books with female main characters.

I’m not saying one bad review would have derailed how I write, but a good one right out of the gate certainly brightened my outlook and made my debut YA novel all the more special.

My hope is that you feel the same way when you get your first review!

Yours in YA,


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A New Kind of Diva

I’ve noticed in the many YA books I skim through, there’s
the same sort of mean girl character who visits every one of them—no matter the genre. You know, the head cheerleader, built like a Victoria Secret Android, who lives to make the likeable girl-next-door’s life a living hell, just because her Ex starts sniffing at her?

Cliches can be fun, when done in a campy sort of way, but when overdone, they’re just plain one-dimensional and boring, only because we’re tired of seeing the same character play the same part. Why not give the understudy a chance at being a new kind of diva?

So, I started thinking how would an author fashion the new diva and make her more palatable for today’s reader who’s bored of Evil Barbie trying to take over high school. Then, as synchronicity would have it, I read the same Yahoo article I’m sure all of you have been reading ad nauseum, by now. The one about Beyonce and Jay-Z taking over the hospital to have their baby event.
"Her baby Diva couldn't come into this world inhaling cheap hospital air, could she?"
I was glued to the melodrama and BAM…the bells and whistles went off in my head. Beyoncee is loveable, gorgeous and uber talented. Everyone, including Obama, is enamored of her. And yet, here she is on her maternity day, showing up with her militia of bodyguards, demanding all cell phones be banned and covering up security camera lenses on HER wing! And let's not forget the million dollar suite she reserved. Her baby Diva couldn't come into this world inhaling cheap hospital air, could she?

A new dad, visiting his premature baby in the intensive care unit was stopped three times because Beyonce’s peeps were walking through the corridor. So here we have the good girl gone bad. But, what’s really interesting is, she’s not REALLY bad. She’s just a little polluted by the uncontrollable machine that is Hollywood.

What’s interesting is I’m certain Jay-Z and Beyonce don’t believe they acted inappropriately, or perhaps they didn’t see any alternative to dealing with the potentially lethal intrusiveness of paparazzi. From their point of view, they’re just reacting to the unmanageable zoo that has become their lives. But from our perspective, we see their behavior as quintessential diva.

I don't know about you, but I'd really love to see a YA author explore such diva-layered complexities. Or…perhaps I'll one day take a page out of my own blog and create her, myself!

Monday, January 9, 2012

New release & World Sharing

Book 2 in The Night of the Grypon series....available Friday at Desert Breeze Publishing.

Book 1 - The Hollow King is available now at


Last Monday Rebecca gave us a peek at the actors she uses for models to her characters. With the release of The Warrior Queen this Friday, I thought I might share some insight into the world The Night of the Gryphon is set.

One of the characters spends some time here....


While another group of the quest end up...(it's not as nice as it looks)

And of course there is love in my series...one couple (No, she's not some helpless beauty...Ovezara is very capable of taking care of herself and handling Jur).

My favorite thing in writing this series is the fact I can create anything!

Have a great day...


Saturday, January 7, 2012

What's Hot and What's Not


I read a book a while ago by Donald Mass called "Writing The Breakout Novel". It was a great book with fantastic information, but he said something in it that surprised and really stuck with me. He said, (not verbatim) that it isn't marketing that makes a book a bestseller, it's word of mouth. I've often pondered this statement and, in a way, I can see how he's right. It appears certain books have won the lottery of popularity and become what seems like an overnight sensation. Are they good books? Absolutely. The best books I've ever read? No. For every hot, best seller, I can think of 4 others that are just as good but never got the notoriety they deserved. So what makes these books such a success?

Take the Twilight phenomenon. The book was published by a small publishing company and it was Stephanie Meyer's first book she'd ever written. She had a literary agent who sold her book to Little Brown.

Compare that book to the Shack. This book was also swept up in the fantastic read spot light. Millions of copies sold and this book was originally self-published.

Compare that to the newest and hottest read, everyone I know is toting a copy (my two kids each have their own so they wouldn't have to share), The Hunger Games. This book was published by a larger company, Scholastic Press.

Each of these books are vastly different than the other, from genre to publishing company. In fact, the only thing similar about them is the that they're over-whelmingly popular.

So what does this tell me? Two things: First, write a great book. Second, getting your novel swept up in the gotta-read-it frenzy is part luck, and just like Donald Mass says, word of mouth. So I guess there's hope for us all :)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on what it takes to write a national bestseller.

Have a great Saturday!

Melynda Price

Monday, January 2, 2012

Help Me Cast My Books

So, I love to play this game. Every once in a while I cast my books. If you've read my Warrior books, help me out here. Do you think this would be a good cast?

This is Dean Geyer. Would he make a good Deacon?
This is Thomas Dekker. Should be Chad?
This is Evan Peters. Jason?
I'm still looking for my Rachel...
Any suggestions would be helpful!