Friday, November 30, 2012

Celebrate YA

Beth Revis is having the most amazing giveaway I've ever seen.  She's giving away nearly 50 signed YA books to one lucky winner.  There are numerous ways to get entries, including a blog post about why you love YA.

Guess what this post is about?

First, here are the books she's giving away:

You can also click on her name in the opening paragraph to view her post about this and see a precise listing of the books.  If your eyes don't pop out of your head...well...what's up???

Why do I love YA?

Story lines that aren't realistic with adults can be explored in YA.  Adventures that take me back to my teen years, to my dreams and wishes, to the things I wanted to do or imagined might someday be possible, are all things you can read in YA.

YA covers all genres and sometimes breaks rules that aren't being broken in adult novels.  It also "tends" to be less focused on sex and more focused on romance and those first flirtations, the possibilities of "when" and "if."  These are feelings we've all experiences, questions we've asked ourselves in the past.  Some regret the decisions they've made, others don't, but we have made them, and it's an experience we share.

Many fantastic authors have written YA novels, created stories that had no other outlet.  Authors I've never heard of, as well as authors I've read in the adult genres.  Sometimes it seems as if they've found voices they didn't have when writing adult novels, and that is refreshing.

Why do I love YA?

Because there are great YA stories, ones that suck me in, take me on adventures, sometimes even help me relive my teen years.

Why do I love YA?

It rocks.

Why do you read YA?  Are you as blown away by this giveaway as I am?  There's still today to enter!

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Climbing the Falls & Links

For today's [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday, here are a couple pictures taken during our climb to the top of Seven Falls.

The view from the top

Bridal Veil Falls

A bit of carved out rock near Ramona Falls

A bowl carved out by one of the falls

Bridal Veil Falls

Linky Time!

Accepting Submissions

Perfect Pitch has put together a nicely organized and thorough list of types of publications accepting submissions at this time.

Mitzi Szereto is now accepting submissions for two different anthologies.  One for Love, Lust and Zombies and one for Darker Edge of Desire.

SNM Horror Magazine, a free mag, is seeking submissions for horror.  Not a paying market.  Scan down for information on submitting.

Steve Berman is reading for several anthologies.  Scan down for all the different types, as they do vary widely.

Alter Press is seeking submissions for an anthology called Dread Time Stories, involving splatter versions of fairy tales.  Paying market.  Deadline December 31.

Hazardous Press is accepting submissions for their horror anthology Horrific History.  Pays in profit shares.  Deadline December 31.

Blood Bound Books is taking submissions for Night Terrors III, a horror anthology.  Paying market.  Deadline January 1.  Scan down for short story collection.


Trisha at Word + Stuff is hosting the Baby Faces Blogfest on Dec. 2 and 3.  This one's an easy one, so be sure to check it out!  All you have to do is post a picture of yourself as a baby and/or tell a story from when you were a baby.

Of Interest

Claire at Interviews with Indie Authors posted her results in using KDP Select.  Trying to decide whether to go with them for your release?  She not only discusses her results, but tells you what else she did for promotion during that time.

Austin Briggs created an interesting slide show on how not to be the writer everyone ignores called 3 Keys to be Relatable.  Interesting, and it makes me want to make a slideshow of my own.

Anything to share?  Think you've got anything to submit to the anthologies and magazines above?  Do you write for the anthology or write a story and search for one that fits?  Going to do the blogfest?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, November 26, 2012

There Can Only Be One

I have this issue that I need to find a way to get past.  I tend to focus on one type of writing and leave the others on the shelf to get dusty.

I've always had this problem.  Well, since graduating school, anyway.  In my school years I had to write whatever I was assigned, and it was never a problem, which means it's just ridiculous that I have a problem now.

You see, I wasn't getting any fiction writing done when my son was itty bitty.  Instead, I was blogging for "pay" as a mom (my blog was Not a Test Tube Baby, which no longer exists) and writing non-fiction articles for Helium.  I made some money doing that, which was great.  Far easier than making money writing fiction, at least at this stage for me.  I was also taking college courses during this time, and writing papers for those.

Fast forward to when I went to my first conference and promptly threw myself into fiction writing, the kind I really enjoy.  I stopped writing the non-fiction (which also, currently, means I stopped getting paid for my writing).

I didn't realize I'd stopped it until I was blog hopping the other day and came across a post where the blogger said they were stuck writing poetry right now, because they could only focus on one kind of writing at a time.  Zoinks!  That's what I've been doing!

Not only that, but I tend to either be writing on short fiction or novels.  I have a hard time juggling when to write what.  Should I sit down and write an article so I can get paid?  Should I work on a short story and submit that sucker so I can get my name out there?  Or should I continue working on my novel?  What about editing?  No, I'll do this.  No, this.  This.  Argh!

So how does one juggle when to write what?  How do you split your time between short fiction, novel and non-fiction?  I like to write it all, but I just can't find the time or a way to split up what little time I do find.

I will say that I've reached a semi-happy medium between short fiction and my novels.  On Tuesdays I host a write-in at Pikes Perk, a coffee house in town (all are welcome, so if you live around here and want to go, let me know!)  I'm there for a little less than two hours, and I spend that time working solely on short stories.  I'm not allowed to work on my novels or editing, because I said so.

Later that day, I take my daughter to gymnastics.  This involves sitting in a waiting room with a bunch of other parents, several of them quite obnoxious, so my son and I put ear buds in and listen to music, him while doing homework and me while writing.  Again, I limit myself to writing short fiction only at this venue.

I like to work on my novels on one specific computer.  I don't like to do bits and parts elsewhere, though I did do a little snippet from my current WIP at an improv writing I attended, and the Earth did not open up and swallow me.  Nor did buildings collapse around me.  Funny.

So, tell me, do you have the juggling act down?  How do you decide what to write and when?  Do you write what comes to mind at any given time, or do you schedule in writing time for the different arenas?  

May you find your Muse.

Both images courtesy of OCAL at

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - The Falls & Links

I'm late!  Sorry about that.

I'm finally getting back to the Seven Falls pictures, of which the Stellar's Jay was the first one.

The entry gate

A view of the lower falls from Eagle's Nest

These trees always fascinate me.  Poor things  are on eroding hills, their roots exposed, yet they survive.

I don't think this little fall counts among the seven, as it doesn't have a name.

The lowest fall, Hill Falls, named after the current owner.  A fan waterfall.

And the trek begins...
Now for links:

Blog Hops/Fests:

M. Pax and Tyrean Martinson are hosting the Hobbit Blogfest on December 14.  Post your answers to four hobbit questions and see what everyone else has said.

A group of bloggers has created a blogfest to honor Alex J. Cavanaugh, the ninja who has given so much to the blogging community.  The Cheers Cavanaugh Blogfest will occur December 10th-12th.  Hosted by Mark Koopman, Morgan Shamy, Stephen Tremp, and David Powers King.

The And You Are... Blog Hop is being hosted by Tammy Theriault and Emily R. King.  Scheduled for December 3, you're asked to answer some questions from David Spade.  There will be three Christmas presents given out to posters.

Call for Guest Posters:

We are looking for guest posters on the A-to-Z Challenge blog.  You can contact any one of us via the contacts page, but Tina is your girl for arranging guest posts.  This is a great way to get yourself out there to a new audience.

Free books:

You can try for a chance at a free eARC of Exhale, by Jennifer Snyder.  Just stop by Hannah Grace's blog, Paper, Ink and Coffee and enter.  Exhale will be released December 10!

This Friday, not only will Andrew Leon of StrangePegs be releasing part 9 of his Shadow Spinner serial, but that and all previous parts will be FREE!


Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust does online writing workshops.  Of particular interest if you can't attend in-person classes, but want to enrich your writing knowledge.

Anything to share?  Participating in any of these hops/fests?  Excited about part 9 of Shadow Spinner?  Have you guest posted on the A-to-Z blog yet?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Never Forget, Never Surrender!

Alright, so that title is a little melodramatic, but it was what popped into my head, so I had to use it.  You understand, don't you?

When I'm talking to friends or anyone who says they want to write, but just don't have the time, or don't know how to start, or whatever other excuse happens to come up (hey, I've used them, too, so no judgment here), one of the first things I recommend is a notebook.  One little notebook.  Any kind.  Why?  To write down ideas as they come, take notes, get your mind used to writing words down on paper, organize your thoughts and spur your creativity.

Let's go back in time a bit.  I attended my first writer's conference three years ago now, I think?  I left that conference jazzed, but I didn't really know where to start.  I had a big idea in my mind of something I wanted to write about, but I just never had the time, and I didn't know how to begin the novel.  However, my mind was working overtime on the story.  I was stuck, though, unsure what was making me unable to just sit and write.  I would start the story, get stuck, give up, start it again.

Frustrated, I sat down with a composition book I had on hand (it had been a journal eons before), and I started writing down whatever I was thinking.  It didn't have to go together yet.  It was just a way to let my mind work through whatever was going on.

This really got the flow going, and I had a breakthrough that finally jump started Lonely Hollow: Synthesis.  I got to the point where I carried that composition book and a pen or pencil everywhere I went.  In less than a year, I'd written the novel (which is in edits), and I'd had ideas for several more, as well as short story and character sketches that came to me, but had no definite home.

Fast forward to now and I have several composition books, each for a separate novel I'd like to write.  I jot notes in them as they come to me.  These are in addition to the habit I've had for about two decades of writing down ideas that came to me.  However, those notes were disjointed before.  I have a little accordion file for index cards, because I tried to organize them at one point.  I had different colored index cards for character sketches, settings, then different genres of story ideas.

I wasn't consistent with that, though, so I also have ideas written down in various spirals, loose-leaf sheets of paper, mini-notebooks, napkins, torn pieces of paper, etc.  I kept telling myself that I would sit down one of these days and make that reorganization attempt again, but it wasn't happening.

Then I ran across an article on Lifehacker that led me to The Writer's Room, and an article about something called a Spark File, written by Steven Johnson.  He talked about writing every little idea in one single notebook then reading through it on a regular basis to "spark" your thinking and creativity.

Seems obvious now, but it was something I kept putting off, not getting to.  Now, however, organizing those thoughts into one place is a great help.  I still have my composition books, because it helps me keep organized by story, but anything not related to one of those novels I'm working on goes in my lovely all-purpose notebook.

Since reading this, I've spoken to other people about their notebooks.  One of those people was more than happy to show me her beat-up all purpose notebook, where she jots down notes and observations, as well as little snippets of writing.  She was nice enough to put together a piece for the blog I edit, Writing From the Peak, on the subject.

Here's the thing, writing all those ideas down in this way doesn't just record them for you to come back to later, though that's great, too.  For me, at least, writing those notes was a way to begin brainstorming, and it would escalate every time I recorded something in there.  Sometimes I'd end up writing for pages, because each idea would lead me to another.  And it's still like that.  The all-purpose notebook can be similar at times, where if I start writing something down it will encourage more brainstorming, but it isn't to the point of my composition books, yet.

Now, I'm old school on this, using actual notebooks made of paper, but Steven Johnson uses Google so he can access it from anywhere.  My phone is ancient, no internet access, so that's not an option for me, but I also prefer to use paper.  If I could find a typewriter that would keep up with my typing, I'd happily type along on that sucker when I write, too.  My point is, make this what you need it to be.  Use whatever form you're comfortable with, but do find a method that helps get you started.  I'm Queen Procrastinator, but writing down my ideas as they come has really helped me to stop what I'm doing and write it down right away, and that often gets me in the mood for taking it to the next step and getting words down on paper (or on the screen).

Do you have a notebook (or notebooks)?  How do you organize your thoughts?  What gets you writing?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Hero Tribute & Links

A quick note: I guest posted over at Leave it to Livia today about building your blogging network.  Stop by and say hi!

For this week's [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday, I wanted to do a Veteran's Day salute to family members who have been in the military.  Plus, I love old pics.  I got a kick out of my grandma's pictures from when she was in the Air Force, but I'm doing this rather last minute, and I just didn't have that much time to scan all those photos.  Maybe next year I'll dedicate a day to just her.

My Grandpa Bill, my dad's dad, WWII, Air Force

My Grandma Joyce, my dad's mom, WWII, Air Force
My Grandpa Brown, my mom's dad, WWII, Navy
My Uncle Tommy, my mom's brother, Vietnam, Navy

My Uncle Michael, my mom's brother, Vietnam, Army
My dad!  Vietnam, Air Force
My brother-in-law, Greg, possibly Kuwait?  Army (sadly, this is the biggest photo I have, because I took it off MySpace while he was out there.  :(

I don't have a photo of my friend Joe, but he has served our country overseas for years now, doing several tours, and he deserves to be on here, as well.

Now for links!

I only have a few for you today, as I really haven't gotten much online time this week, which is how I find the information.  Sowwy! :(  But I do have a few good ones for you.

Taking Submissions:

White Cat Publications, LLC has introduced two new genre publications, both of which are now taking submissions.  Dark Intent is their mystery/suspense one, looking for short stories, flash fiction, columns, interviews and reviews.  Nightfall is their new dark fiction one, looking for short stories, flash fiction, columns, interviews and reviews.  Paying markets.


Karen, of A Peek at Karen's World, is hosting her annual blog awards.  You can submit whoever you like, including yourself, for the various awards.


Yarny is a cloud program set up for you to write your novel in.  Saves as you write.  It looks interesting, though I'm not sure how I feel about cloud anything right now.

Tor has announced an hour long Twitter chat series, once per month.  This is your chance to speak with guest authors and go all fan boy/girl or ask meaningful questions.

Did you celebrate any military friends or family this week?  Ever heard of Yarny?  What do you think of Tor's Twitter chat?  

May you find your Muse.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mile Hi Con Highlights - Days Two & Three

First, I'd like to send my thanks out to our veterans.  I hope to honor those in my family this [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday.  And my love out to my brother who leaves the 20th of this month (my birthday) to go into the Navy.

And before I jump into Mile Hi Con, Day 2, a quick NaNo update (I have not yet written for today): I'm at 18900 words, and had a great breakthrough during a movie last night, which is funny, because said movie had nothing to do with my novel.  It was two words said, and they were being used in an entirely different way than I will now be using them.  I love that inspiration can strike anywhere, for any reason.

Now for Mile Hi Con, Day 2  (Day 1 can be found here):

I had my workshop presentation on "Social Media for the Professional Woman" that morning, so I didn't end up back in Denver until a bit after 3 p.m.  Once I got up there, I got checked into my room (only my second time ever being in a hotel room on my own) and changed, then met up with my friend.  Day 2 was a lot easier on me, more comfortable.  I had a better idea of how things worked, where things were, etc.

We took in part of a panel on "Science Travesties in Current Media," which was interesting.  There was a panel of people with knowledge in different areas (for instance, an ex-Navy man pointed out that the orange torpedoes used in The Hunt for Red October are test torpedoes and would not actually blow anything up, and a woman on the panel discussed how unrealistic it was to outrun the volcano in Dante's Peak).  I don't have a lot to report on this one, though, due to missing most of it.  However, suffice it to say, always do your research.  There will be someone who knows about what you're writing about, and it will bother them when your information is inaccurate.  That's a reader you've just lost.

After that panel, I attended my very first "Once More With Feeling (and) Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog Sing Along."  I only recently started watching the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix (I know...gasp!), so this was the first time I'd seen the episode Once More With Feeling, but it was great fun, and easy to follow along.  Even better, the lights were out, so you could sing without being embarrassed.  And I did!  This particular episode is a musical, with some manner of curse causing everyone to randomly break into song and dance.  Quite fun!  Then came Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, which I'd only seen once before (again, courtesy of Netflix), and only this past year.  At least I'd seen it, though, so I knew the tunes a bit better.  I'd totally do this again!

I attended a reading, and I will not name the readers, because I discovered I don't like just sitting and listening to people read.  I need to be reading it myself.  I can't pay attention to books on tape, either.  Maybe it's the ADHD, I don't know, but I was bored out of my mind.  Now, it did make me want to purchase several of the books.  It was not at all about the books not being interesting.  I just can't sit and listen to people read.  I can't sit and watch a movie without fidgeting, either.  It's just not for me.  Again, some really interesting books were shared, though, and they're on my wish list now.

We grabbed some food and then ended up taking part in some after hours fun.  I won't go into that, because I have to say that after hours at Mile Hi Con, stays after hours at Mile Hi Con.  Suffice it to say that I didn't get to my room until about 2:30 in the morning, and that I hung out with some people that I respected in the writing world, which was fantastic.  I also met a lot of new people and had a good time.  And I can safely say, in case you're worried, that I didn't do anything regrettable or illegal.  Well, I'm pretty sure it was all legal... (just kidding, was all illegal!).  Come on, you all know I'm a boring old mom.

The only thing I'm sad about is that we were going to go to Rocky Horror Picture Show.  I've seen it, of course, multiple times, but I've never gotten to see it with a crowd, singing along, participating, you know?  And that is an experience I'd like to have, just because I haven't.  Maybe next year?  I don't know if they do that every year, but I hope to have the opportunity next year.

Since that was short, I'm going to run through Day 3.  I didn't get up early, because, well, I'm a mom, and I wanted to sleep in, dangit!  And there was nothing I so desperately wanted to do that I was willing to drag my butt out of bed.  Once I did drag my butt out of bed, I had a lovely, albeit overpriced, meal in the hotel (I took all my meals in the hotel at one or another of their restaurants, so they were all overpriced - at least the food was good).  After breakfast, I had to check out and take all my stuff out to my car, so I missed another hour's worth of programming.

After that, I went to the second half of "Transparency & Ethics in Scientific Research" and left feeling dumber than when I went in, not because of a failure on the parts of the panelists, but because a few of the discussions were a bit over my head.  I don't take part in scientific research, don't write papers on it, etc.  I did find it interesting, though, which is why I attended.


I then went to "Comedic Elements in Horror," which was fun.  Those of you who stopped by during Alex's Genre Favorites Blog Fest know that my guilty pleasure is horror comedy, so this was right up my alley.  The panelists were Jesse Bullington, James K. Burk, Wayne Faust, Stephen Graham Jones and Molly Tanzer.  They discussed needing those tension breaks in a movie, and how comedy works well for that.  It's a better version of the startle response (for instance, the cat that jumps out in so many horror movies).  You startle and laugh at yourself, and some of the tension is broken up so it can grow again.  But in horror comedy, you get a legitimate laugh to break that tension.  A quote I enjoyed was "Nobody laughs at a clown at midnight," originally said by Lon Chaney.  It means things that aren't scary in one setting (say, a birthday party during the day) can be scary in the right setting (let's look at Stephen King and the clown in the sewer).  It's about how you handle it, how you set it, and the unexpected.

After lunch it was time for the "Strong Women in Sci-Fi" panel, with Rudy Ch Garcia, CJ Henderson, Cherie Priest, Jeanne Stein, and Molly Tanzer.  They discussed what made a strong female in books, and it wasn't necessarily the cliched bad ass, but just a woman who showed strength of character and fortitude.  Women can be strong in many, many ways, and they don't all involve big guns or vampire stakes.  And they certainly don't have to involve scantily clad females.  Women who weren't strong were those who needed to be rescued (though not accepting help is not, in itself, strong either), who were dependent on others, who were foolish.  Overall, a valid point was to study women you know.  Who do you see as a strong woman?  What makes you feel that way?  What traits make her a strong woman?  Do you know a weak woman?  What points might she have that you'd want to avoid?  As someone on the panel said, it shouldn't be that hard to write a strong woman unless you've never had one in your life.

My final panel before heading home was entitled "Forget About the Midi-Chlorians and Embrace The Force! Religion and Sprituality in SF & F."  On the panel were Stephen Brust, Michael Carroll, Daniel Dvorkin, Warren Hammond, and Aaron Ritchey (one of my columnists over at Writing From the Peak!).  Most agreed that religion should play a part in world building, as religion is big in people's lives.  Look globally.  How does religion play a part in real life?  Consider that when building your worlds.  Religion dictates ways of life, laws, morals, etc.  So don't forget that detail.

At this point, I was thoroughly exhausted and missed my hubby and my babies, so I took off, skipping closing ceremonies and bobbing for authors (fun in the hot tub - I had no interest in being seen in my bathing suit).  Traffic cooperated with me, and I was able to get home in time for a wonderful dinner, put together by my hubby.  And I got to read to my babies and tuck them in at bed time.  Perfect.

Any of these panels you might have found interesting?  Do you know what a midi-chlorian is (cuz' I didn't)?  Would you laugh at a clown at midnight?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of November, which means it's time for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group, wherein we writerly folk talk about our insecurities.  This post will be in lieu of [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday for this week, but you can still find some links below, at the end of the post.

Boy, what am I insecure about?  Everything, really.  I'm afraid to let people I know read what I wrote, because I'm afraid they'll hate it, that I'll be judged harshly.  Sending it off to an editor is actually easier than having a friend or family member read it.  I've always been like that on everything, though.  Have to give a speech?  As long as my family and close friends won't be there, I can do it.  I guess it's a fear of failure more than anything.  I can fail in front of a stranger, and it won't mean an awful lot.  But to fail in front of those close to me is to have them know that I couldn't cut it, and there's no escaping that.  Ever.  They will hold that failure inside of them forever, and when I see them I will know that they know that I wasn't good enough.

One insecurity is probably good per month, right?  

This week's links:


The Pikes Peak Branch Pen Women Flash Fiction Contest theme is now officially up on the website.  The new theme is "Hidden Amongst These Worlds."  $10 entry, cash prizes.

Bookus Publishing's Very Short Fiction Contest deadline has been extended to November 10.  No entry fee.  Cash prize and publication.  The theme is pregnancy and/or childhood.  Readers vote on the winners.

Bookus Publishing's Water Danger Humour Novella Competition is open through November 31.  $5 Canadian entry fee.  Cash prizes and publication.  Readers vote on the winners.

Open for Submissions:

Fowl Feathered Press is looking for poetry for their chapbooks. 

The Pedestal Magazine is taking poetry submissions through December 13.  Paying market.

Other/Of Interest:

The Alliance of Independent Authors put out an article on media kits for indie authors.  It has great information for what you need, indie author or otherwise, to get your name out there via the media.

Have you ever tried to see if there are writers groups or critique groups meeting near you?  It's a great resource!

Random House and Penguin have agreed to merge, as detailed in this article at Publisher's Weekly.

What are you insecure about?  Any links to share?  How do you feel about Penguin and Random House merging?  Is this good or bad for authors?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Student Forever

My husband works in the computer technology field, which is a constantly changing sector.  Because of this, he constantly learns more about his field by attending training, paying attention to the market and upcoming products, and getting certifications and education.  He has to do these things to keep his company up-to-date and provide the best service possible.

Why am I talking about this?  Because we work in a similar field.  Writing is always changing.  

What changes about it?  Right now, we're looking at huge changes in e-publishing and self-publishing.  However, the popularity of various genres, character-types, storylines, etc. is always changing, evolving, mutating, if you will.  The writing market does not stay static.  Yes, there are things that will always be popular, like romance and mystery, but those things change within themselves and evolve.

How can you keep up with these changes?

Conferences.  Go to a local writer's conference.  It doesn't have to be a big one.  Or do one online.  You will learn what is working these days, what is being written, and what is being read.  Bigger than that, though, is what you will learn about your craft.  No matter how good a writer you may be, you don't know everything about writing.  There is always something to learn.  Attend workshops that have to do with the stage you're at, or with what you have the most questions about.  For instance, if you're in research phase, go learn about research, about what you need to do to be accurate in your books.  If you're writing, learn about the dynamics of writing, how to open a story, what your arc should be like, how to manage your time, how to increase your creativity.  Focus on what you most need to know, then move onto the next topic when you're ready for it.  Don't overwhelm yourself all at once.

The Market.  Chances are, if you write, you read.  Or you should.  It kills me when someone says they write horror, but they've never been into horror (for example).  Then how do you know what's scary?  Or what works in horror?  If you're a reader, you are sort of naturally watching the market while you look for new and interesting things to read.  Pay attention to what is trending and what is going out.  It's just information to have.


Workshops & Groups.  Find local or online groups and workshops that might help enrich your craft.  Find things that are interesting and attend them.  Nervous about going by yourself?  Find a pal who will go with you.  There are all manner of groups and workshops.  For instance, we have Write Brains via Pikes Peak Writers every month, monthly programs from Pen Women, Mystery Writers of America, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and many others.  We also have write-ins, critique groups, library-run programs for writers, improv nights, you name it.  Don't attend every single one (well, unless you're able and have the desire to, I guess), but do choose things you think will help you.

Books & Magazines.  Read books on writing.  For instance, On Writing, by Stephen King, which is a popular book.  Get magazines about writing.  Writer's Digest is a good one.  The magazines will keep you updated on what's going on in the publishing world, as well as educate you on your craft.  The books will help with craft, and, if well written, will continue to apply to your writing even years down the road.

Online.  A lot can be found online these days.  Articles about writing, critique groups, forums for writers, workshops, blogs, and even online conferences.  You don't even have to leave your home to continue to learn about the craft of writing.  Go online and find the information you need.

These are just a few basic ways to keep yourself up-to-date and learning, not the only ways.  Absorb what you can from others.  Pay attention to what's going on in the book world.  Educate yourself in the ways that feel the most comfortable with, and that you glean the most out of.  Keep yourself a commodity by always being a student, always trying to learn more and take in as much information as you can.

How do you keep on top of things in the writing world?  What resources do you like best?  

May you find your Muse.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Nosy Writers! With Debbie Maxwell Allen

Debbie Maxwell Allen, of Writing While the Rice Boils did a little question meme for the week, and I figured since I was on a roll with memes/hops that I doing one more fun one couldn't hurt! (I swear, I'll be back to normal posting days as of Monday, but it's a holiday week, so hopefully you'll forgive me?)

1. What is the name of your book?
Lonely Hollow: Synthesis

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?
I had a dream about a couple of kids suddenly being able to fly. While that particular scene/ability never shows up in the book, that was the dream that spawned my idea of kids who begin to develop certain abilities/powers, and have no adults to consult about it.

3. In what genre would you classify your book? 
It's post-apocalyptic fantasy.

4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?
Kieran, my main male character, would be Steven Strait, as seen in Sky High as Warren Peace.
Zane would be a mix between Emilio Estevez in Breakfast Club (personality) and Jensen Ackles (appearance).
Justin would be a young Patrick Dempsey, curly hair and all.
I haven't found the perfect person for Samara, but the closest I've gotten is Nina Dobrev of Vampire Diaries.

5. Give us a one sentence synopsis of your book.
Sixteen years after a virus sweeps the globe, several teens in a mountain village begin to discover new powers within themselves as they search for the answers to their origins and fight to keep their village safe from invaders.

6. Is your book already published? 
No. I'm still editing it.

7. How long did it take you to write your book? 
 It took less than a year to write it, but has taken a couple years to edit it, as I've entered a couple contests to get critiques and used those to continue editing.

8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours? 
Probably things like Hunger Games, The Uglies, The Max series by James Patterson, etc.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? 
I had been holding it in my head for a long time, but the spark that got me writing was my first Pikes Peak Writers Conference. I left that conference and immediately began writing notes, figuring out characters, etc. When the next NaNo came by, I decided to more thoroughly invest in it and set my own goal of 30,000 words, which I believe I made, and that helped me continue writing it.

10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book.
This book combines a post-apocalyptic theme (though not necessarily a dystopian one) with super human powers and an exciting journey.


I got to this later than I'd hoped, so there are only a few hours left until it closes, but it's a fun one to do if you just want to post a bit about your novel. If you do it, even if the linky is closed, give Debbie a shout-out at her blog (link in first paragraph), so she can check it out!