Saturday, June 30, 2012

Interview with L. M. Davis


Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
L. M. Davis
Hello L. M. and welcome to The Writers Voice!

Have you ever cut a scene out of one of your novels that you wanted to keep? Why did you do it? Can you tell us about it?

I can not think of a scene that I have had to sacrifice that I really wanted to keep. Generally, I have to add more to a novel as it goes through the various drafts, rather than take something away. If I take something out, it is mostly because it doesn't work anymore, and I am so at the mercy of my stories that I don't really fight it when I have that realization. Most of the time, though, scenes don't come out entirely. More often, those scenes get reworked so that they fit with the new version of the story.

What was the trigger for your last novel? Your aha moment that sprouted its idea?

It's hard to say. The idea for the Shifters Novel series came to me, literally, in the space of six hours. I had decided that I would wanted to write a book that my cousin would enjoy, and as I drove through Wisconsin (I was living in Minnesota at the time), Nate and Larissa just came to me as the central characters. Because, initially, this book was for my cousin, I knew that it would be a coming of age novel told mostly from the male perspective, but I also knew that I would have to have a pretty powerful female lead and that is why Nate and Larissa are fraternal twins--just about perfect equality. I also knew, immediately, that it would be a series--either that or a really long book. I decide not to inflict a 1500 page epic on the world, so a series it became. After that, the pieces just began to fall into place.

Is there one novel in your life you love to re-read? Do you continue to learn from it every time you re-read it?

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery is probably one of my favorite novels. I love Anne as a character, with her plucky spirit and her wonderfully expressive way. I love that she was bold enough to hit Gilbert Blythe, the cutest boy in class, over the head with her slate when she felt like he was mistreating her--rather than sitting back and taking it. I am not sure that I am still learning from it in the same way that I did when I first read it as a kid, but I still get the same satisfaction of immersing myself in that world. I always laugh when Anne accidentally dies her hair green, I still shed a tear at the end when a beloved character (I won't say who) dies, and I always sigh with contentment when Gilbert and Anne finally become friends. Reading a favorite book is like visiting an old friend. It can remind you of another time and the person that you were when you first read it, and it can also be a kind of comfort now.

How do you know that your plot will hold the weight of your novel? Do you write more plots that novels then pick and choose?

When I write, I don't necessarily set out to write a novel. I write to tell a story, and I write until the story is told, whether the result is a short story, a novella, or a novel. Sometimes when I come up with an idea, I know immediately that there is so much to it that it will need a novel length number of pages to fully explore it. Other times, I think that I have a novel length idea and it turns out to only be a 30 page short story. I think that sometimes putting those length parameters on an idea at the start kind of interferes with my creative process, which can lead to wicked writer's block. So, instead, I try to let the story tell me its shape and form. I listen to the story as much as possible from the beginning to the end.

Is the way you structure your novels a choice or does it come to you organically?

The story and most of the major plot points come rather organically. In that, it is hard to make choices about structure because once I have the plot points I have to get the story to move from A to B to C to the end. Most of the time, there is not a lot of flexibility in that process. Sometimes, while revising, I find that some event or conversation that appears early in the draft would actually work better and make more sense later and vice versa. But even that is not me making a choice; instead those choices fall in line with the demands of the story rather than my personal preference.

Have you ever used or gotten ideas for dialogue from conversations you have overheard or had with others?

Frequently, the dialogue of my stories reflects the way that I speak and the ways that people around me speak; I haven't dabbled with different kinds of dialect yet. Some of the dialogue in Interlopers, while not reflecting any actual conversation that I have had, sounds like the kind of conversation that I would have if I were talking about my life as a were-panther. :-) I try only to use dialogue that sounds convincing to me as I read it. If something sounds fake or like it is a stretch, it has to go...because I think that dialogue--the words they use--are part of what makes a character believable. I don't want to have anything in my stories that stops my readers from connecting with my characters.

To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Interview with Jessi Kirby


Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
Jessi Kirby
Hello Jessi and welcome to The Writers Voice!

Can you tell us what scene you can remember being the hardest to write? What scene was it and why was it difficult for you?

The hardest scene for me to write in both MOONGLASS and IN HONOR was the last scene. My goal in that scene is to leave the reader with a feeling that somehow resonates and that brings the story to a close that feels genuine and just right, which is incredibly hard to do!

How important is your writing environment when you are working on a novel? Can you write anywhere or do you need a specific setting?

I’ve become less picky than I used to be about where I write. The biggest thing is that I need quiet, and I can find that in a lot of different places: my office, my dining room table or the living room (when no one else is home), the library. I don’t tend to write in cafes or other populated places because the people and their conversations are too interestingly distracting.

Do you have any closet/trunk novels hidden away?

I don’t, unless you count my version of JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, which I wrote in 5th grade. Other than that, MOONGLASS was the first novel I attempted.

When you are looking for a book to read what do you look for? Has what you look for changed since your first publication?

I am always looking for characters that hook me from the very first page, and genuine emotion in a story. I want a book to make me feel and make me think. That hasn’t really changed since my first publication. I consider it studying the things I want to do in a book.

How long does your first draft normally take you to write?

I don’t know if I’m qualified to say “normally” yet, but the first draft of MOONGLASS took me about 10 months, and IN HONOR took 9. Maybe with GOLDEN it’ll be 8? Yeah, probably not.

When you are writing your first draft what do you try to accomplish with your first chapter? Are you just trying to get the words out, do you consciously try to write your hook first, what is the first chapter like for you?

When I write the first chapter I am very conscious of the hook since that is so hugely important. I write it over multiple times until I have the hook nailed and the tone just right (for a first draft, anyway). The first few chapters usually come pretty easily. It’s the middle that’s the hard part.

Do you ever identify with one of your characters more than the others?

Definitely. I think the protagonist in each of my novels is the character I most identify with. Writing in first person tends to place me closer to that character, and then the minor characters are more of a fun way to explore personalities much different from my own.

To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Authors, Awards and an Amazing Giveaway!

Today I'd like to take a moment to promote the first annual UtopYACon 2012. Honoring female writers of YA fantasy and paranormal books and those who read them, this is a truly can't-miss conference. I'm thrilled to be participating as a panelist for several sessions, and I hope a number of you will be there. I'd love to meet you!

Curious? Let me entice you even more! The conference will be held at the Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, TN on July 6-8, 2012. Some of the other participating authors include Myra McEntire (Hourglass and Timepiece), Angeline Kace (Descended by Blood), Amy Bartol (The Premonition Series), Tammy Blackwell (Timber Wolves), Tiffany King (Saving Angels Series), Abbi Glines (Existence and Predestined), Ella James (Stained), Jessica Sorenson (Fallen Star), and many more!

Hop on over to the UtopYACon website for more information, including the complete list of authors, what sessions will be offered, how to purchase tickets, and everything else you need to know. Come on out and support your favorite authors!

If you can't make it to the event, you can still show your support by voting for your favorite authors and their books in the UtopYACon Awards. I hope you'll take a moment and cast your votes before the ballot closes on June 29th!

Psst...a group of bloggers has gathered to offer a HUGE giveaway to support this event. You can visit my blog to enter for a chance to win awesome prizes!  

I hope to see you at UtopYACon 2012!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cover Reveal - Enlightened

Enlightened Cover Reveal
by Devyn Dawson

Recently our founder Emma Michaels announced that she is doing book covers.  I've been struggling over what my second book in The Light Tamer Series would be...until I saw Emma's work.  (I'm going Southern tune your ears to Southern).  Girl, let me tell you, that Emma girl...she got mad skills!  Have you seen her work?  Child, you must check her covers out.  They are so good you can butter my butt and call me a biscuit!   (taking a sip of some sweet tea)  Holy cow! Squeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Do you get the picture?  Her work is very professional, and her prices are very affordable.  We collaborated together and decided that The Light Tamer needed a face-lift.  It makes it easier for readers to recognize they are from the same series.  I agreed.  I loved the old book cover and I love the new one.  What do I like about Emma's covers?  First, her eye for colors and subject matter are great.  Since she is a writer, she understands the need to draw the reader from the cover alone.  Not only are her covers beautiful but her banners are very attractive.  When you're considering your own cover, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions.

          1.  Will it appeal to readers?
          2.  Will it look good in print?
          3.  Does it tell a story?
          4.  Does it 'speak' to you?

Now for my cover reveal for Enlightened.  Let me know what you think!  If you want to see more of Emma's covers....

Toodles! XOXO Devyn

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Interview with Kait Nolan

Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
Kait Nolan
Hello Kait and welcome to The Writers Voice!

What part of your first novel did you find hardest to write?

Finishing! And ultimately declaring it actually finished instead of polishing and changing forever trying to make it perfect.

What scares you most?

We’re planning on starting a family in the next couple of years, and I’m terrified that either I will resent my kid because they aren’t dogs that can be tossed in the back yard when I need to work, or that I’ll lose the momentum I’ve been building in my writing career until they’re old enough to go to school.

Do you start writing when you have a plot mapped out or start plotting when you have started writing based off a spark of inspiration?

Sometimes I’ll start with a spark of an idea, and I might go ahead and jot out that scene while it’s fresh, but for the most part I’m a plotter. I prefer to have the major plot points sorted out, kind of like planning a road trip and knowing what places I want to stop. I might take a few detours in between, but I need those major stops.

Was there ever a moment when you wouldn’t trade what you do as an author for the world? What was that moment for you?

Um, pretty much any moment. I’m not happy doing anything else. I write paranormal romance and urban fantasy—what does real, normal life, full of staff meetings and boredom, have to compare to new worlds and adventures and butt-kicking?

Aspiring writers often hear, "Read what you want to write," "Hone your writing craft." and, above all else, "Be patient." What other advice would you give them?

Never stop working to improve. Never think you’ve learned everything there is to learn. Whatever you read, whatever you watch, there’s something you can learn to better your own work.

Is there rhyme and reason to how you choose character traits?

It’s a combination, really. Some characters just show up, and I’ll know that they’re outgoing or shy, diplomatic or honest to a fault. But those are just broad strokes. There are a lot of other things, the things that really make them real that pop up as I’m writing. Sometimes I don’t know what will come out until I put them in a particular situation. And it’s that combination of planned and organic that makes new characters so much fun.

To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Interview with Daisy Whitney


Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
Daisy Whitney
Hello Daisy and welcome to The Writers Voice!

Who do you feel is your most relatable character to readers?

My hope is that all of the characters in THE MOCKINGBIRDS are relatable in different ways, and certainly I hope readers connect with the narrator, Alex Patrick. I've been told from a number of readers too that they are quite fond of Alex's roommate and good friend Maia.

Are the traits of anyone close to you apparent in your characters?

Sure! Martin, the love interest, is a funny guy and so is my husband!

Who do you feel is your most unique character?

That's like picking your favorite child! I love them all in different ways! I will say though that in addition to Alex, Martin and Maia have been the fan favorites.

What are your favorite song lyrics?

So many good ones! I love Broadway musicals so I would have to say my favorite lyrics are from La Cage Aux Folles "Best of Times," Les Mis' "Red and Black," and Company's "Being Alive."

Do you have a playlist for each of your novels? If not, can you think of a few relevant songs?

My playlist for THE MOCKINGBIRDS includes Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" on repeat, as well as Arcade Fire songs like "Intervention" and "Windowsill."

If you could have any extraordinary gift or super power what would it be and why?

Flying would be a cool superpower, as would the ability to heal anyone.

To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Interactive Indie!!

On Being an Interactive Indie

So, readers like participating. That’s what I’ve heard. I know it makes a huge difference when an author engages me, personally. I’m doing my best to encourage my readers to have an active hand in my series, because at the end of the day, I wrote it for them.  And I want to share how much fun I’m having! That’s what it’s all about, right?

This is something I LOVE about being Indie. Many people would argue that the benefits for being traditionally published outweigh the cons, but I have to say… I’m enjoying being able to share my passion my way. I get to do everything the way I dream of doing it- things I probably wouldn’t have been able to do while adhering to the strict constraints imposed upon me by a publishing house. I can read and comment on any book I like without them having to come from the same publisher. I can help other people (this is HUGE!) whenever I feel like it, without considering them my enemy. I can release my book when I want to release my book, not when it slots in nicely with other releases coming out at a certain time, or in eighteen months because the people in charge are just too busy to get it out any earlier.

Being Indie is basically badass. And I want to share every step of it. In light of that, I’m introducing…

Operation: Find Daniel

I can’t describe how exciting it is to be on the cusp of releasing Sovereign Hope. I literally have to fight myself daily not to just give in and release it already! But where would be the sense in that? It’s out on the 1st of July, and I should surely be able to wait ten days…


I should be thinking about other things, anyway. Like making the second book, Eternal Hope, awesome! I’ve been busy busting my guts working on Eternal Hope while preparing to send Sovereign out into the world, and it’s all but finished. There’s just one piece of the puzzle troubling me.

The cover!!!!

The talented Emma Michaels designed the cover of Sovereign hope for me, and it’s so, so beautiful. It makes me all warm and fuzzy just looking at it! I’ve lost count of all the wonderful compliments I’ve had on her work. But I want to do something different with the cover of Eternal Hope. I want to find the PERFECT person to pose as Daniel, and with that in mind, everyone over at camp has been helping to roll out Operation: Find Daniel.

What does this operation involve? Well, ideally it involves reading Sovereign Hope to meet Daniel and get a firm sense of him in your mind! Once heads have been filled head with all things Daniel, I need people to help me find him! I don’t care if he’s already a professional model, your boyfriend, your brother’s best friend… I don’t care if he’s your milkman!

I’m inviting readers to (get permission) and send me pics of their Daniel picks! The best ones will go on the site for people to discuss! I’m so excited to see the submissions! The most, absolutely, fantastically perfect submission for Daniel will be contacted to pose for the cover, which will undoubtedly be just as beautiful as Sovereign Hope’s!

How do you all get your readers engaged with your stories? What amazing fan art or correspondences have you been lucky enough to receive? I’m dying to know!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Interview with Victoria Simcox

Do you ever get writers block? How do you suggest aspiring authors overcome their own bouts of writers block?

 I used to get writer's block, but then I realized it came to me when I got too stressed out and felt like I was pressured to write. I had to remind myself why I started writing to begin with—because I enjoyed it, not because I had too; then I relaxed. If you are an aspiring author and going through writer's block and feeling like there's nothing you can come up with to write about, or your imagination has run dry, then take a day off—go see a flick, or do something you enjoy to relax. You'll be surprised how ideas come to you when you're in a happy relaxed state of mind.

What do you feel is your biggest writer fault and how do you deal with it?

I tend to over edit my work. I still have to figure out how to deal with it,  lol.

What is your favorite point of view to write from? Do you have any particular reason?

 I usually write from second person point of view, so I'd say that. But maybe if I start another series after the one I'm working on know, I might try first person—add a little pizzazz to my writing life.

World building is such an important part of writing. What is your world building process like for you?

When I start world building, I start with the physical environment that my characters reside in, climate, terrain, etc. Also such things as the culture, the type of society, and there is much more. A lot is involved but to think it up is also part of why I like to write, to create my very own world is amazing and a lot of fun.

What's your writing routine? Do you write in the mornings, nights, daily, or when the mood strikes you?

I write whenever I can, morning, afternoon, night. I take my lap-top on the road, and if I have time to kill, I'll write anywhere. If I waited for a certain mood than I probably wouldn't write much. It's more of a discipline; though once I get started my creativity just starts a flowin‘.

What is your biggest pet peeve in writing?

 I wish I was a faster writer and had more hours in the day to write. Because my life is filled with home schooling, teaching, housework, chauffeuring, fundraising, managing my kids band, and much more, I can't always spend as much time at writing that I would like.

Check out Victoria's personal blog @

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Interview with Samantha Young

Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
Samantha Young!
Hello Samantha and welcome to The Writers Voice!

Are there any other art forms that inspire you when you are writing? Do you listen to music, look at art pieces for ideas or watch dance and gymnastics?

Music is a huge part of my writing process. I love taking long walks with my music and letting the melody and lyrics inspire me. My novella, Drip Drop Teardrop is entirely inspired by the song ‘overload’ by the Cardigans and is kind of a homage to the song really

What is your biggest and hardest to ignore distraction? How do you cope with it?

My biggest distraction is the internet. I’m constantly checking my emails and twitter and facebook and sometimes I really have to force myself into a no-web go area. I just like to keep on top of things and I always like to respond to someone who has contacted me about my books asap.

Is there one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you before you started writing?

Patience. Patience is key. It’s unrealistic to expect a massive fan base and huge sales instantly. Give yourself time to develop as a writer and to build a steady readership.

Do you write in or out of sequence? What part of your novel comes first? What comes last?

I so admire people who can write out of sequence! I can never do that, it makes my brain go ‘splat!’ I have to write from beginning to end. Someone who can write out of sequence has to explain that to me some day.

How do you choose your main character? What about perspective? Do you tend to write in third or choose the character telling the story based off of part of your plot?

My main character usually chooses me once I have the idea cemented. I think about what kind of heroine I want in that situation, the kinds of ‘real’ issues she’s dealing with so teens find her relatable, and then I begin writing out a bio for her. Mostly I write in third person so I can have multiple perspectives in my books. The only time I’ve written in first person was in Slumber because the entire story really was Rogan’s and Rogan’s alone.

When you are reading, what make a character compelling to you? Is it the same aspects that make a character you are writing compelling?

Actually it is. I love strong heroines with a vulnerable side. I’m not really a fan of the wilting wallflower type unless the character has quiet strength underneath all the shyness. I’m not a feminist by any means but I think young adult heroines should project a certain amount of strength and independence – she should be as kickass in her own way as her leading man

To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Interview with Monique O'Connor James


Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
Monique O'Connor James
Hello Monique and welcome to The Writers Voice!

What would you like for readers to take away from your novel/novels?

I’m really hoping that my readers connect with my characters and can feel what they are feeling. Jamais Vu is about second chances and everyone deserving them. It’s difficult to write a paranormal novel that leaves you feeling better about the world, but I hope on some level I do that with each one of my books.

What part of your first novel did you find hardest to write?

My first novel, The Keepers, had a lot of personal ties to me in it. It wasn’t autobiographical, but it did reflect some of my personal experiences. In the book Jess loses her mother to breast cancer. I also lost my mother to breast cancer and sharing those emotions with a character was difficult at times, but I feel better emotionally for having done so.

Was there ever a moment when you wouldn’t trade what you do as an author for the world? What was that moment for you?

Probably the first time I was sent a contract (for The Keepers). I ran outside crying and my husband thought something was wrong. But to be honest, every time I get an email or a message saying that someone really connected with my story…well those are the times I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

What makes you feel like you’re reading or have read a truly amazing book?

If I’m still thinking about the book or its characters a day later, then I know the book impacted me. I love a book like that, one that you almost grieve when you finally finish!

Is there one book that has had an impact on not only your writing, but on you personally?

The only thing that comes to mind is that I read Anne Rice’s novels when I was 13 and from that moment I wanted to push myself to write a full length novel. Of course, it was years later before I actually did it, but she gets the credit for that.

Tell us something most people don’t know about you!

Because I’m loud and outgoing people think it’s easy for me to stand up and talk in front of a crowd, but the truth is any time I’m forced to speak publically, I’m screaming inside. It’s one thing to entertain the room when you aren’t the focus of attention, but something completely different when all eyes are on you. I’m working on that though!

To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Looking Back...

I was cleaning out some papers from my desk and ran across two things I had written when I was younger. One was from October 1997, I was 17 years old and a senior in highschool. It was a short story titled "In a World with Peace", for a news paper we were writing in my English class. The other was a poem I wrote when I was 21. I'm sharing them with you today and reminding myself of where I have been as a writer and how far I have come. So, welcome to memory lane with me. I hope it's a pleasant stroll. You will notice that the short story says by Quinn Troche', Troche's is my maidan name. In a World with Peace, by Quinn Troche' Peace sat and stared out the window of her Dallas apartment. The day had begun as boring as they all do on Christmas vacation. Although Peace had never really thought about it, she wondered what made Christmas so special. Could it really be just Santa Clause? She couldn't stand not knowing so she decided to go to the library. When she arrived she didn't know exactly where to look so she asked the librarian. "I want to know why Christmas is so special can you give me a book that will tell me?" The librarian looked puzzled for a moment but then it hit her, "Yes, as a matter of fact I do have a book that will tell you, but would you mind if I read it to you?" Asked the librarian. "No, not at all. I would really like that." Answered Peace. So the librarian went to get the extraordinary book that was going to tell Peace why Christmas was so special. When the librarian arrived back to Peace with the book she said, "This is called the Bible. This book tells us the story of Christmas, and many other stories that have to do with why we were created, and the whole plan of God." Peace stared in awe at the book and eagerly asked, "Can I know God?" The librarian looked at Peace and said, choking back tears, "Yes my sweet, you can know God." And so they sat down together in the quiet, Peace filled library, and the librarian shared the love of Jesus with a little girl names Peace, who ironically had never known what her name really meant until she met Jesus. Poem by Quinn Loftis 21 years of age: I miss you When I feel your arms around me, and I feel your breath on my skin. I feel safe as your love surrounds me, you melt away the loneliness within. How each day I long to hold you, to hear you whisper my name. It's been awhile since I told you, I still hold this hurt and shame. And when I'm lonely it's magnified, when you're not here it fills my head. To let it go seems simplified, it's not done easier than it's said. Please don't hold my burdens on you, they are not yours to bear. God will hold them and make me new, these are not struggles I need to share. I feel safe when I hear you say, that your love is forever. I look forward to each new day, knowing we will be together. I know you're tired and you're worn, your days are filled with stress. Your time is stretched and it's torn, how quickly life becomes a mess. Give me time I will get it together, I will hold you more. Give me time I will do better, I will give you more. Thank you for letting me share my past with you. Every writer has a place where they started, a place where they learned that writting opened something inside them. I love to write. I love to bare a part of me to the world and hope that it touches someone else. Are these national best sellers waiting to, but they are a piece of me that at one time needed to come out and now I share them with you. God bless! Quinn

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Something in the air

My wedding anniversary is coming up this weekend--twelve years!--and so I'm thinking a lot about love and first kisses. I love writing about two people realizing their attraction to each other for the first time. It's like falling in love all over again, and so I really enjoy writing about that first kiss between the main character and the love interest. What about you? Do you eagerly await the first kiss between two characters in a book like I do?

I'm sick today and so I thought it would be fun to share one of the more memorable first kisses I've written about to perk me up a bit. This comes from my ebook Surfacing, which is a paranormal YA about a group of mermaid-like people living on North Carolina's Outer Banks. The narrator is Mara, who has been drawn to the trees near the little beach called Pirate's Cove and finds things getting a bit strange there...

A hand closed around mine, stopping me. My head whipped around to find Josh’s face peering at me in the dim glow of my phone.

“What—” I started to say, but he shook his head. His expression was tight, his lips a thin straight line. He closed his eyes, swaying slightly, and a look of pain washed over his face.

“What’s going—” The words died in my throat. A movement out of the corner of my eye caught my attention.

When I turned in that direction, I saw a figure slip between the trees, into the darkness.

My mother.

I stared hard at the area where she’d disappeared, searching the shadows. She was there, I knew she was even though at the same time I knew this was impossible. Mom was dead and her body was buried in a little cemetery in Tennessee. My mom was not wandering around Pirate’s Cove in Swans Landing.

And yet I smelled her perfume. She whispered my name and then laughed. She was there.

“Mom!” I called.

But Josh clasped his free hand over my mouth, his eyes still closed and his face contorted in pain. I struggled against him, trying to break free. Mom was there in the woods and I needed to find her. But the more I struggled, the more Josh pulled me against him, his arm wrapped around my ribcage and crushing me to his chest.

I fought against him, kicking and hitting. My teeth clamped down on his hand.

“Ow!” he cried, letting me go.

With my newfound freedom, I lurched forward, stumbling over roots. I ran through the trees, narrowly missing hitting my head on a low branch. “Mom!” I shouted. My eyes scanned the darkness of the forest, desperate to find her.

Josh caught up to me and grabbed me again. I tried to break free, struggling against the violent craving for salt water that wracked my body in order to keep my wits about me. But maybe I had long ago lost my sense of reality. I didn’t know what was really true anymore.

Josh’s fingers dug into my wrist. “Mara, no!”

“I have to find her,” I told him, my voice high-pitched and wild even to my own ears.

He wrenched me toward him. I raised my fists to push away, but Josh’s arms enveloped me, pressing me close.

And then his lips met mine and the world I barely had any remaining grip on slipped away completely.

In the moment that Josh’s lips met mine, the entire world changed. Whatever the song was in the forest around us, it seemed magnified as we kissed, the sound thundering in my ears. My own heartbeat matched its melody, my breathing rising and falling with the voices in the night beyond us.

Inside the trees, it was only us, wrapped in a cocoon of wind swirling through the branches and leaves brushing by our feet. I forgot my mom, myself, everything—except the feel of Josh’s warm lips pressed to mine, our tongues dancing around each other’s in exploration. His hands squeezed my body, trying to press me closer to him, and I responded the same.

I didn’t know how long we stayed like that, but it seemed as if a thousand years had passed in the blink of an eye. By the time Josh broke away and I realized the song had finally faded, I shivered with a cold sweat. He released me, letting his hand slide down my arm to mine.

And then, I slapped him.

You can find out more about Surfacing, the island of Swans Landing, and the people who live there on my website.

Do you have a favorite first kiss from a novel you've read (or written)?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Little Things

Today I said, “Okay,” when my daughter chose a $27 gift for her best friend’s birthday. I also used an entire pound of ground sausage for my lasagna. A year ago, the birthday gift would have needed to come in under $15 and I would have tried to make the lasagna work with a half or maybe three-quarters of a pound of sausage. It’s the little things I’m really appreciating as a result of having an income as a writer.

I’m a scrimper in a long line of penny-pinchers, and yet there is something ineffable about being able to use the amount of sausage that the recipe calls for. When I wrote my first novel (which shall never daylight see!) I made my main character’s family wealthy. I still break out in baby goosebumps remembering how fun it was to give her a great big McMansion and a car for her sixteenth birthday and a fridge full of soda. Her mom would have totally used a full pound of sausage in her lasagna.

I know the difference between things that matter (family, love, self-respect) and things that are ephemeral (Coke Zero, a tidy lawn, new beach towels), but there is really something lovely in being able to order a meal at a restaurant or say yes to the gift my daughter really wants to give her BFF instead of telling her to find something cheaper.

And for that, I am so very grateful to you, dear reader.

How do you like to treat yourself or your family when you have a little extra in your budget?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Interview with Cath Crowley


Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
Cath Crowley
Hello Cath and welcome to The Writers Voice!

Who reads your manuscripts before you submit them?

So far, no one reads my manuscript before I submit. I have some friends who read parts of it for me. And I discuss it with people. One friend, in particular, is great with structure. She hears the whole idea from start to finish but she doesn’t read it. Now that I have an agent, I think this will change. I imagine she will read the manuscript before I submit to my publisher.

Do you have a day job? Do you hope that writing will be your full time career in the future?

I taught a writing class one morning every week this year. I had a class of very talented adults who were all writing young adult novels. I also talk in schools during the year. I’ll keep talking to young adults next year because that helps with my writing. Apart from that my only job will be to finish my novel.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a book called The Howling Boy. It’s a love story and a mystery, told from the perspective of two narrators – Crow and Audrey.

What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?

I look at art or I listen to Radiolab or This American Life. And I snack.

Where do you do your best writing? Do you like to have certain surroundings?

I do my best writing at about 4am. It doesn’t matter where I am. I just need quiet, a laptop, and the sun down outside my window.

If you could live in one book for a day, what would it be? 

Good question. I’d live in The Princess Bride.

To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Interview with Amber L. Argyle


Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
Amber L. Argyle
Hello Amber and welcome to The Writers Voice!

Do you outline? If so how closely do you follow it?

I didn’t used to (I tried a few times and couldn’t figure it out. Aprilynne Pike actually taught me how to do it well—and not until MS # 7), but I got tired of having a plot point not work out, deleting a big chunk of my MS and having to rewrite it. When I outline, I write my first draft much faster with a lot less wasted time. So far, I’ve followed it fairly closely. Little plot points shift, but the main plot has remained the same.

Has being a novelist changed the way you read and appreciate novels?

Absolutely. I can better recognize when an author is brilliant even if they aren’t my taste. I’ve also learned to never say anything bad publicly about a book. I can also see the value in authors that others berate because they aren’t “great writers” but they are exceptional storytellers.

How much do you draw from your own life when constructing your main character?

I’m not really sure. I can tell you that I pick an animal that represents my character. In my current WIP, she’s a songbird. She startles easily, is light and quick, loves to sing, climb trees, and laugh. I also use Hartman’s color personalities.

How do you get to know your characters? Do you write out a bio, they just come to you or do you have certain facts you always decide on first?

Certain personalities fit specific stories better. You want your characters personality to contradict the mold/story they need to fill. IE Brusenna is quite and shy—and it conflicts with the leadership role that’s thrust upon her. I always have an overview of their personality. Little quirks and tidbits come later. My characters base personality is always there to build from (see above).

Do you tend to reach the word count you want exactly, overshoot or undershoot? How does it affect your editing?

My goal is to hit 70 to 100 k words. I’m usually in there somewhere, but I was short once. That MS sat for 2 years because I didn’t know what else to do with it. I’m almost done with a rewrite though.

To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Knight in Shining...Silk? + Winner Announced

First of all, many thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway I hosted on 5/21. Your response was wonderful! I loved learning what inspires all of you. I'm happy to announce that the winner of my Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy in e-format is...


*cues up the band* Congrats! If you didn't win in this giveaway, there's another one going on over on Lyn Almodovar's Writing on the Sunny Side of the Street blog, so please feel free to visit and enter. I'll also shamelessly mention that you can check out my Estilorian short story, The Prophecy, for free on Amazon.

Okay...onto the blog. There has been so much going on this year. I can't believe that we're a week into June already. Where does the time go?? *looks around for time warp*

It doesn't promise to get any less intense as summer rolls in and school lets out. This is the time of year that I love, as so many readers now engage with authors (and other readers) since their attention can shift from textbooks to reading for fun. What's not to love about that?

Also coming up this summer from July 6-8th is the exciting first annual UTopYA conference in Nashville, TN. Yours truly will be one of the authors presenting on a couple of panels, and I couldn't be more excited! I'm so looking forward to meeting attendees and going all fan-girl because I get to work with and meet many awesome YA authors with whom I've only ever connected via social networking. What an opportunity!

One of the panels I'll be participating on is titled "Strong Woman vs. Damsel in Distress." I find this a fabulous topic. Many people complain about female protagonists who aren't "strong." It's now considered passé for a heroine to need the help of a guy to get her out of whatever drama she encounters. Gone are the days of glass slippers and dragons slain for the fair maiden's hand. Enter females who kick butt and take names later.

I tend to take a combined approach in my books. Usually, my female leads are strong enough in their own rights, but there are times when they need the help of the males in their lives. Amber Hopkins, the female protagonist in Becoming, is probably the most "kick butt" character in my books. She's a black belt in karate and isn't afraid of a challenge. She scoffs at the idea of a knight in shining armor...even if she might actually need one.

Is there a place for the damsel in distress in today's literature, though? That's my question for you, dear readers. What are your arguments for and against the female protagonist who's rescued by a proverbial knight? (Note: the best response will win some Estilorian swag)!

Hit me with your awesome comments!

Monday, June 4, 2012

50 Shades of Procrastination

Devyn Dawson

    I scowl at the laptop in frustration.  Damn that book, damn that deadline, damn those words that won't come.  I should be writing...but I'm petting my cat and watching Ellen.  The doorbell rings and I run down the stairs to answer the door.  I sign the UPS guy's clipboard.  As he walks off, I notice that the grass hasn't been cut.  I walk into the kitchen to call the lawn guy...I clear my dry throat to leave a message.  I forgot about my cup of coffee, I'm sure it's cold.  I start a fresh pot of coffee.  I remember that I have to write a note to write in a new character by the name of Braun, which sounds like brew.  Where is a pen when I need one?  I rummage through the drawer and not only find a pen but a pair of toenail clippers too.  I run into the bathroom and clip my fingernails.  I notice the laundry hamper is full, I go and throw a load of laundry in the washing machine.  The cat is running through my feet, telling me to feed him.  Crap, what will I cook for dinner?  I run in the garage and grab something out of the freezer, I see the caulking gun on the table by the that is where I put it.  I grab it so I don't forget to go outside and caulk the windows.  It's Wednesday, that means I have to tweet about 'Writer Wednesday'...where did I set my coffee down?  Oh hell, I forgot to hit the brew button.  My puppy runs up and rings his bell, which means he has to go potty.  I grab his harness and his leash and go outside.  The neighbor stops me and asks if I'll sign her copy of my book for her granddaughter. We chat for a few minutes and promise to get together soon. I hurry the dog to do his thing, but he wants to mark all of the mailboxes...he's very diligent about marking mailboxes.  I walk into the house and smell the coffee, oh heaven is real.  I sit down with my laptop, completely focused on writing....I open up the document and read the last couple of pages to get the feeling of the words.  What on earth was I thinking about when I wrote that paragraph?  I better check my book sales, because they may have changed dramatically since the last time I checked.  Facebook is still open from earlier in the morning, one of my groups has had a lot of activity.  I better check it out, something major may have happened.  Do I have a doctor appointment tomorrow?  I check my calendar, I know not to trust it...I should call.  After a quick call, I find I do have an appointment.  Since tomorrow will be a wash, I will double up on my daily goal. Instead of 3 thousand words, I'm sure I can squeeze out 6.   How many words did I write today?

I wonder what Christian is doing?  I think I'll send him an email.  A nice cup of Twinings English Breakfast Tea should get the creative juices flowing.  I bite my lower lip as I wait for his reply to my email.  I drink my tea and feel tired from a long night.  I'm going to close my eyes, a fifteen minute nap won't hurt anything.....

Some days go very similar to the above story.... I'm a self-diagnosed A.D.D. sufferer.  Happy writing... now stop reading blogs and go write!

New team member: Frankie Rose

Author Incident Report

Offender: Frankie Rose
Offence: Succumbing to ‘The Rage’
Book title: Sovereign Hope
Release date: 1st July 2012


On June 4th 2012, while walking to work, one Mr. Ivan Andrews of 4271 West Avenue, witnessed the alleged offender, armed with a neon pink spaghetti strainer, hanging from a tree, screaming abuse and throwing her shoes.

Upon approaching the alleged offender, Mr. Andrews enquired as to what seemed to be the problem. At this point, the offender is reported to have sworn profusely at Mr. Andrews and referred to him as a “stupid, stupid man.”

Mr. Andrews then reports that the alleged offender began climbing further up the tree in an attempt to reach a bird in the higher branches. Mr. Andrews suspects the bird was a Whip Poor Will, having heard its repeated calls from the sidewalk. The birdsong, Mr. Andrews reports, is what appeared to be sending the alleged offender into what he referred to as a “murderous rage.”

She was heard to scream, “I swear I’m going to kill you. You just wait. I’ll going to make you suffer, you monster!” At this point, Mr. Andrews was met by a couple of women passing in the street who apparently knew the alleged offender. Both women were sympathetic to the offender’s cause, and began cheering her on. Confused, Mr. Andrews claims he asked the women what was going on. He indicates the women told him the alleged offender was a writer, and the bird had been singing outside her study window for extended periods of time, distracting the alleged offender from her work. This, according to the women, was unacceptable behavior.

Mr. Andrews then witnessed the fire brigade arriving. The alleged offender was removed from the tree by force, where she was restrained until state medical workers arrived to assess her mental condition. The alleged offender was heard to shout, “It’s not my fault he has a death wish. I’m on a freakin’ deadline!”

The alleged offender will be detained for an undetermined period of time, until she displays the necessary composure to return and function as a normal member of society.


Us writers… sometimes we get touchy. For me, I’m usually at my worst when I’m reaching the final stages of my manuscript and the light is visible at the end of the tunnel. I want- no I need everything to happen quicker than it is. I feel like if I don’t get things down today, or preferably yesterday, then I’m liable to forget all of the perfectly imagined scenes that have plagued me for weeks already, waiting impatiently to be penned. Or more accurately smashed out against laptop keys with an electric fury. I like to call this period of writing ‘The Rage’.

While mid-Rage (like other authors, I’m sure) I may or may not have the tendency to overreact to minor distractions and interruptions.


I’ve been known to shoot my husband an exasperated look while saying, “No, of course I don’t want food!” My body’s requirement for sustenance is obviously on hold, since I’m so unbelievably close to completing my book that it understands I don’t possibly have time to eat. I survive off my fat reserves during The Rage. I know this. My body knows this. And now so does my husband.

Thankfully, my better half also understands my need for complete control over my surroundings when I’m summiting the final haul of my mountainous battle to Complete The Book. He doesn’t mind me screaming out of the window at the amateur-hour workmen doing very important ‘construction’ work (digging a big hole). He doesn’t mind me walking around in my mermaid-print PJs during the day, because I’m too angry at the disorganized state of my wardrobe to consider rooting through it to find something appropriate to wear.

I’ve tried to change. I even tried yoga, which, for me, was an incredible step into uncomfortable territory. I’m more likely to attend a Muay Thai class than Pilates. Let’s just say, the tranquility didn’t stick. I’m never going to be the flower power-type hippy with a daisy in my hair, concentrating on drawing my consciousness into my crown chakra. That’s just not me.

So I do other things. I run; I listen to raging music to match my raging mood; I manage to growl in such a way that implies I’m not beyond chewing off a limb if anyone disrupts my flow. I’m sure most authors out there must have coping mechanisms prepared for the most stressful parts of their writing processes. I’m keen to learn what they are. Who knows- maybe I’m not the most psychotic person to ever abuse a laptop.

There have to be hundreds of potential remedies to cure The Rage. If anyone feels like sharing their sure-fire tips for guaranteeing they don’t end up in a tree, brandishing novelty colored kitchen utensils while mental health workers discuss the best way to jimmie them into a straight jacket, then please feel free to share!!!

In the meantime, I’ll concentrate on blocking out the world and writing some more books. I hope someone, somewhere out there, likes them.

Frankie Rose is a twenty-something author who is angry less frequently than she makes out. Her debut novel, Sovereign Hope, is released on the 1st of July, available in ebook and paperback from most online stores. She invites you to nosy through her website at, where you can find a teaser for her Sovereign Hope, as well as the book trailer!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Interview with Victoria Simcox

Interview with Victoria Simcox

Have you ever gotten an idea for a book or part of one of your novels from something or somewhere unexpected?

I would have to say that most of my ideas are unexpected. I rarely plan too far in advance what I'm going to write. My ideas come to me as I write.

Did you always know you would write a novel? Why did you finally decide to write one and when?

Though I've always been creative, mostly in painting watercolors, I didn't think I would be a writer. It was actually a vision I had while sitting in a movie theater watching a flick the inspired me to start. I only saw the first scene of my story, probably half a page of writing.  Then when I started writing the story, it just started flowing to me.

Is there anything you’d like to go back one year to tell yourself?

I don't think so. Part of life is to learn from my past mistakes, also I challenge myself to walk by faith and trust that what is to come is meant to be. I believe there is purpose to all I go through whether good or bad, and in the long run it will be to my benefit and make me a stronger person.

Who are the writers who've inspired you the most?

 C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, Lemony Snicket. There are more but these are the first that come to mind.

Was there ever a time you felt like giving up? Why didn't you?

Sure. There are times when fear tries to creep into my mind and tell me that all I have written and will write in the future is in vain, but the joy of writing, inner inspiration, and fan letters letting me know that they love my story, out weigh the fear.

Who is one person in the past or present who you felt was truly visionary?

J.K. Rowling: Her mind is labyrinth of creative ideas.

When you were growing up, what did you want to be?

A zoo keeper; I actually took one of those aptitude tests as an adolescent and zoo keeper is what it suggested I become.  I was like "YES!" this is a sign from God, lol. I've always been a big animal lover. But then when I became a teenager, my passionate love for animals some how mellowed and like most teenybopper girls of the 80s, boys became the main focus.

Check out Victoria's personal Blog @

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Interview with AG Bellamy


Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
AG Bellamy
Hello AG and welcome to The Writers Voice!

Is there anything you’d like to go back one year and tell yourself?

“Don’t write in first person present- you haven’t got enough experience to write like that. Besides, it’s not right for the story you’re trying to tell. Save yourself some embarrassment and have the courage to ask people for their absolute honest opinion.”

Who are the writers who've inspired you the most?

JK Rowling. I grew up with Harry Potter and come from a similar background to JKR. She made wizards cool again and she’s part of the reason I use magic in The Nightmare Man. He’s not technically a writer, but I have to give some credit to my childhood imaginary friend Richard. When I was little, my father wasn’t around so my mind created a father figure for me until I was thirteen when I started to pen the stories that would eventually become The Nightmare Man; he used to tell me stories about his family, his friends and the job he had. There’s a small part of me now which is happy that his stories are out there to be read.

Was there ever a time you felt like giving up? Why didn't you?

A lot of stuff happened during college, mainly the fact that I was stupid enough to enter into scamming publishers but smart enough to get out just before anything more happened. I was also being bullied a lot. This may sound like it should have put a stop to my writing, but I needed an outlet for my depression and anxiety which almost drove me to suicide. I started thinking about Richard and the stories he used to tell me.

Who is one person in the past or present who you felt was truly visionary?

There are so many… Can I pick twenty? Since I can only pick one I guess it’d be Seth MacFarlane; I love Family Guy and American Dad and a lot of the satire in my book came about because (although he did rip off The Simpsons in many ways) I admired the jokes he writes. He’s also a trained musician, singer and gets his friends and family involved with his work. I’d like it to be this way in the event that my book becomes a film; my friends getting involved with the filming and my family being there to see it filmed and probably having cameos.

J.K. Rowling and other authors are known for the ‘Easter eggs’ they hide in their books. Do you have any Easter eggs in your stories?

Yes. I’m quite political although I don’t support a political party; there’s a scene I wrote around the time the ConDem Coalition was announced, and the way David Cameron manipulated and continues to manipulate Nick Clegg astounds me! When you get to the scene, you’ll understand what I want to do to Cameron. There is another little Easter egg, but before I tell you here’s a little back-story: in college, I had a horrible time in class because it was my classmates were the same people over and over again for every lesson. As a result, I started hating them and they started hating me, which meant that none of us were friends. Due to this, I befriended some of my teachers. Two of them I can’t technically call ‘friend’ because with one I had a semi-awkward relationship and the other was a hippy and therefore was friendly to everyone. I named two characters after them: Anna Jackson and Demitri Henshaw. Of course, I made the names slightly different to their namesakes. I’m also making one character’s personality similar to that of my Theory of Knowledge teacher – Mr. B – who was probably the best teacher-friend a girl could ask for! I absolutely loved him and would occasionally leave strawberries for him (as a sign of friendship and nothing more). He was the sweetest guy on the planet and the character I have is going to have a carbon copy of his personality. Mr. B is also the reason why there are so many references to strawberries in The Nightmare Man *nervous chuckle*

When you were growing up, what did you want to be?

I thought I was going to be everything *laugh* I was really good at art and drama when I was in primary school, but halfway through the teachers- in addition to the students- started to bully me and I lost enthusiasm for drawing and acting. In secondary school I got into science and started hating most of the arts (the art teacher was a bitch, dance teacher bullied me, music teacher told me my fingers were too short for me to ever be a successful musician and drama teacher was racist to the white students). At that point, around 13, I started writing and intended to be a nuclear physicist/science-fiction author. But then I entered college on the IB Diploma and one of those dreams went down the drain, and I found myself getting back into art, theatre, music… and regretting the time I wasted poring over science books when I should have been practicing the guitar and piano, reciting Ibsen and tapping along to the soundtracks of Fame and The Phantom of the Opera and proving those teachers wrong! I guess it wasn’t too bad though, because I’ve come up with a scientific basis for several of my creatures.

To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Interview with Constance Sharper


Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
Constance Sharper
Hello Constance and welcome to The Writers Voice!

What part of your first novel did you find hardest to write?

Everything. Absolutely everything seemed impossible to pound out the correct way. It’s odd that I’ve read hundreds of novels but creating a coherent world with believable characters and events is very difficult. My first novel, which I didn’t publish, is a testament to how far I’ve come over the years and how everyone struggles the first time. In my more recent novels, I find the ending the most difficult part to write. Tying up loose ends is a mental game and trust me, I’m not the puzzle type.

What scares you most?

Well, learning to swim has been on to-do list for a long time so I am probably still afraid of drowning. Mostly though, it’s the lack of control that is scary. That’s why the publishing industry also manages to scare the hell out of me. You have very little control after you put your book out there. Luckily, it has worked out for me so far as well as handling the fear of lack of control. And I will learn how to swim one of these days...

Do you start writing when you have a plot mapped out or start plotting when you have started writing based off a spark of inspiration?

Plotted out. While I jot down scenes and pages based off of inspiration, I’ve never managed to use these in a logical plotline. The idea for Airborne came from a spark of inspiration but the novel itself was structured carefully. Also, plotting out an entire novel makes me more obligated to finish it. It helps prevent me running against a wall or needing to be crazy creative all the time. With the outline it’s simply time to sit down and work. Kind of like coloring between the lines.

Was there ever a moment when you wouldn’t trade what you do as an author for the world? What was that moment for you?

I actually feel like I’m having that moment in my life right now. I recently decided to go back to school full time and work part time (at a non-writing related job). I found out in the past few weeks that it was nearly impossible to keep my schedule and fitting time in to write. Doing so would downright kill me. But then I can’t not write. It’s an obsession. So at this moment I’ve been pulling ridiculous hours to still do what I love. The three a.m. coffee runs and occasional breakdowns are totally worth it.

Aspiring writers often hear, "Read what you want to write," "Hone your writing craft." and, above all else, "Be patient." What other advice would you give them?

Honestly, stop listening to other people’s advice! Don’t take this as me saying the advice you’re given is no good. This is far from the truth because all the quotes above are very true. But it seems like the newbie writing world is filled with nothing but advice, so much so that new writers don’t think for themselves and are filled with loads of self doubt. I tried to follow every rule I was given and was unsuccessful. Then I made my own rules and did it completely differently (I am an Indie author btw) and this worked for me. The main point is: don’t let other voices drown out your own. Jump in and learn how to sink and swim on your own. That way you’ll learn more than what the advice could teach you.

Is there rhyme and reason to how you choose character traits?

For my harpie characters--absolutely. Their race absolutely must predispose them to traits of pride and bad temperament. Cue Mason, the cocky bad boy harpie. But since not every harpie is the same, they still develop their own personalities. I don’t micromanage my characters. They just manage to grow on their own I think. I don’t like perfect characters. My favorites are the flawed ones.

To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!