Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Excerpts from two of my works in progress, Crimson Moon and Adoration




ADORATION - YA Fantasy

Katerina frowned at Cal, “I don't remember asking you for help so let go of my arm now.” Cal just stared at her like she had two heads. “Are you deaf? I said let go of my arm.” He released her arm and sneered down at her. “Excuse me for trying to help you. I won't make that mistake again. You are one of the most unpleasant people I have ever met.”
 “Do I need to remind you that this is the 21st century and I'm not some damsel in distress who needs to be saved. I can take care of myself.”

CRIMSON MOON - YA Paranormal

Cassia hesitantly made her way down what seemed like an endless spiral staircase. As she reached the last step a door shimmered into view. While she was deciding whether she should knock or just open the door a voice from the other side of the door spoke. “Come in dear, I have matters of great importance to discuss with you.”
Doing as the voice told her, Cassia pushed open the door and at a rather large desk sat a wizened little old lady. “Who are you and where am I?”
 Laughing softly, the lady pushed the chair she was sitting in away from the desk and stood. “ I am Jarinda, keeper of Lucian Crimson. You are Cassia, the next in line to be a Keeper. It is my responsibility to teach you how to guard all of his secrets.”
“Okay...What if I don't want to be a Keeper? How do I get out of it?”
Jarinda frowned and said, “ There is no way out of becoming the next Keeper. If there were do you honestly think I would still be in this awful place?”

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Clue About Editing: It was the Author in the Study with the Knife



Let's face it, folks: EDIT is a four-letter word.


There's no getting around it. If you're a writer, there will come a time when you have to edit. And anyone who says editing their own work is easy is probably not doing it right!

Although editing is often a painful process, it's also a necessary one. It's the time where we hone our work, fixing spelling and grammatical errors, tightening up the plot, removing repetitive and redundant elements, toning down excessive description and ensuring consistency in the timeline. It's an author's chance to make a good story an excellent one.

Especially in the world of indie books, the editing process can't be overlooked. We don't have a team of professionals screening our books for flaws. Thus, we must rely on capable, honest critique partners and approach our own work with a red pen and heartless objectivity (something I'm still trying to develop). My fellow authors and I often joke about taking out a knife and hacking at our latest WIP...but it isn't an unrealistic comparison.

Here are a few self-editing tips I follow that I hope will prove helpful to other writers:

1. Put your hands up and back away from the keyboard. Very little gives us more perspective on our own work than putting it aside for a while and then revisiting it. Ideally, you should have someone reading and critiquing it while you're on this hiatus. That way, you can incorporate their helpful suggestions as you conduct your first round of edits.

2. Less is more. When going through your project, ask yourself, "Is this essential to the plot? Does it serve to further the story?" If it doesn't, no matter how beautifully written it is, cut it out.

3. Mind the passive voice. My first drafts often violate the passive voice rule. It's amazing how much stronger a sentence is when "was feeling" becomes "felt." Make those small changes and watch your work shine!

4. Create and maintain a timeline of events. Regardless of the type of story, a timeline is a very helpful device. I prefer a chapter-by-chapter model that lists the passage of time by the day. I've caught some big plot gaps this way.

5. Listen to yourself. When you've finished the first few rounds of edits (you do know there will be multiple edits required, right??), read the story out loud. Pay attention to words that are used a lot--even in dialogue tags--and ensure that each of your characters speak in the voice you intended.

These are only a few tips for editing your own work. I'll mention that the best thing you can do is hire a professional editor, though not everyone has the funds to do so. Regardless of your approach to editing, if you take pride in your work, your readers will certainly notice!

To round out this post, I thought I'd offer up a deleted scene from my book Becoming. My first major revision of a book was when I cut out the first three chapters of Becoming and completely rewrote them. It broke my heart, but I'd received feedback from more than one reader that the story took too long to get started, so I simply couldn't ignore that. Still, I couldn't bear to part with the words that I worked so hard to pen, so now you can check them out!

Here you go:

“What just happened?” Amber asked a second time as Gabriel steered her by the arm to their shared vehicle.

The black 1984 Nissan 300ZX gleamed like a jewel among the other scattered vehicles in the senior parking lot. As always, the sight of it brought a swell of pride to Gabriel. He had spent many long hours refurbishing the rusty heap he and Amber had purchased off its original owner for just a few hundred dollars two years before. Rather than respond to Amber’s question, he took the car keys from her limp hand, opened the passenger door and ushered her into the leather bucket seat. Walking around to the driver’s side, he spared a distracted wave for a friend of a friend as he opened the car door and then jumped behind the wheel.


Heat pumped off the car’s black leather seats as well as the pleather steering wheel as Gabriel turned the key in the ignition. Amber sat silently, staring sightlessly out the windshield as the air-conditioning churned to life and blew a blast of warm, humid air into the car’s interior before the coolant kicked in. Under normal circumstances, she would have issued at least one pithy complaint about the uncomfortable temperature. Maybe something about how she had tried to convince him that they should buy the beige leather seats because hot Georgia summers would take to the black interior like a Barbie to a Ken doll…or something to that effect. The noticeable lack of comments had Gabriel suppressing an uncharacteristic frown. After holding his Ray Bans in front of an air vent for a few seconds to avoid getting scalded, he settled the glasses over his eyes and put the car into reverse.


They made their way through the parking lot and turned onto the residential street leading into downtown Newnan. Sending a considering glance sideways, he proposed, “Nirvana?”


Finally, she showed another reaction besides surprise and awe. Flashing him an amused look, she said, “Throwback time. You know me so well.”


Of course he did. Slipping Nevermind into the car’s CD player, they rode along to Smells Like Teen Spirit.


The beautiful, historic homes and shops settled around the quaint town square slid past, all but unnoticed. Gabriel usually enjoyed studying his surroundings as he drove through town, noting what had changed from one day to the next. Granted, the changes weren’t much and they weren’t often, but that only made each change more remarkable when it happened, didn’t it?


Today, his thoughts couldn’t seem to dislodge from the unexpected scene that had occurred in the school’s front entrance.


The strains of the album’s first song faded as they passed the Chinese restaurant where he and Amber ate after work at least every other week. Glancing to his left and spotting the sculpted fountain and small ornamental pond enhancing the restaurant’s exterior, he thought, Jason wouldn’t know that Amber always orders the Hunan Shrimp with brown rice and extra snow peas.


“I can’t imagine why Jason did that,” she said at last. “I mean, we only know each other through track. I’ve spoken to him maybe twice in my entire life. He could have gone to that stupid pool party with any girl in school.”


Gabriel made a noncommittal sound as they stopped at a traffic light.


“It doesn’t make any sense!”


Sighing, he turned and studied Amber’s profile. Her brow wrinkled as she puzzled through the quandary of having been asked to the end-of-the-year pool party by Jason Harrison. Her braid had become half-unraveled as she twisted it around her finger, a habit he knew she indulged in whenever she was nervous or anxious. The result was a frizzy mass of rich brown hair framing an ivory-toned, angular face all but swallowed up by intense, golden-brown eyes and full, unpainted lips. She rarely bothered with makeup, feeling that the ends didn’t justify the means.


“You don’t give yourself enough credit,” he said finally as he pressed conservatively on the accelerator and glanced down side-streets for local law enforcement. One speeding ticket was enough for him, thank you very much.


Snorting, she crossed her arms over her chest. “Said by the guy who dates the school’s most accomplished temptress. Twice. ”


Rolling his eyes, he pulled up to a traffic light and turned right, heading to their after-school jobs at BJ’s Warehouse.


He hardly felt the need to justify two dates with the school’s cheerleading captain and last year’s Homecoming Queen. A guy would understand, he was certain. Still, Amber was his best friend. Choosing to gloss over her last comment, he swallowed the words he wanted to say and offered, “I think you’ll have a great time at the party with Jason.”


“Ha!”


Blinking over the exclamation as he patiently waited for the two other cars at a four-way stop to decide who had arrived first, he managed a, “Huh?”


“You know I don’t even own a swimsuit. You also know I had absolutely no intention of attending this stupid pool party.”


Ah
. Struggling not to grin, he pulled into the BJ’s parking lot and pulled into a far slot. Employees were supposed to leave the closer parking spaces for customers. Reaching behind their seats, he pulled out the red smocks complete with name tags that they would don over their clothes before starting work.

He turned to hand Amber her smock, intent on teasing her with a comment about going to the pool party without a swimsuit. Then he looked into her eyes and saw the panic there…and caved instantly.


“Listen,” he said, grasping her left hand to prompt her to look at him. “A swimsuit is an easy fix, and Jason is a pretty decent guy.” And if it turned out he wasn’t, he’d have to deal with Gabriel. “It’ll be all right.”


After hesitating a moment with a lost expression that he had never seen before and hoped never to see again, she nodded her head resolutely and took her smock.


“Okay. Let’s get to work.”


What are your editing tips?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Meet guest author Lenore Wolfe



I remember the first time I thought that I should write. I was in my early 20s, and it wasn't long before it became my passion. Still, I would struggle with this passion inside me for many more years. It was a passion that would not die, though I tried to tamp it down, even when I had no time, or energy, left for writing after working all day.

I had sat down with an old typewriter over 25 years ago. I was interupted when I went to Barrow, Alaska for nearly 2 years, but when I returned, this time I brought back some experience with computers, so I went gone out and bought my first desktop. I finished, To Tame a Wild Hawk, entered, and won, a contest--but I still did not publish it for over 15 years.

Instead, I got a divorce and became involved with a man who would take me on a brutal roller-coaster ride. I would fight as he tried to squash out my love for writing the first few years, and then withdraw when he tried to support it for the last few years--and though I won Midwest Writers most promising writers award, I still did not try to publish--until after I broke free.

Then, two years ago, I sat down and cleaned up my story the best that I could and self- published it on Amazon. Later, I cleaned it up some more, put a new cover on it and also placed it on Smashwords and Barnes and Noble. It wasn't long after that, as I bumped along, learning how to blog and put up websites, that I found an editor and on a barter system, wrote a second book, this time the first in a paranormal series, and with her help, cleaned them both up yet again.

I saw the pattern towards ereaders building during that time, and I knew that we were heading towards revolutionizing the way we publish, but even I didn't see how fast that would take place. Within the year, it went from Amazon can hurt your future publishing opportunities--to Amazon is the future of publishing opportunities. Now, you can make a name for yourself and even pick up more great publishing opportunities because of Amazon. Should you chose, you can let yourself get picked up by a more traditional publisher, or you can build yourself into a New York Best Seller--all on Amazon yourself. It is all in how hard you're willing to work for it.

Currently, Dark Warrior: To Tame a Wild Hawk, made #3 on Kindles Top 100 Free reads, and stayed within the Top Paid 100 for several more weeks after that, and now, a small romance publishing company is considering picking up the series. I don't know if I will go with them or continue on my own, but I am considering my options. Not bad for a struggling girl who use wrote the first of this series while living on top a mountain:)

I just finished the first book, The Fallen One, in the series, Sons of the Dark Mother. The second in that series, Embraced by Shadow, is due out in July, 2012 The second book in my romance, Dark Warrior: Kid is due out this summer. And the second book, Jaguar Witch, in Children of Atlantis, is due out in April.

I also have two YA series coming out: Realm of the Elemental Witch and Realm of the Jaguar Witch. The first books of these two series is also due out this summer.

I feel blessed to finally follow my dreams, and I look forward to your feedback:)

You can follow me at:

http://authorlenorewolfe.blogspot.com
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4368571.Lenore_Wolfe
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lenore-Wolfe/150224925046188?ref=ts
http://twitter.com/lenorewolfe

~Lenore Wolfe~~

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Meet guest author Chrissy Peebles



The dream vacation that might just turn deadly...

Seventeen-year-old Casey Smith can't wait to embark on her summer vacation, not least because she's finally shed her tomboy image and lost her baby fat, and now heartthrob Mike seems interested. What starts out great with lots of hot flirting taking her a step closer to winning her crush's heart soon turns into her worst nightmare.

Tossed out to sea during a freak storm, Casey is washed up on what she presumes to be a mysterious tropical island that's on no map she's ever seen. Soon she discovers that being lost is the least of her worries.

In a world that should never even exist, to save the ones she loves, Casey needs to win the war between good and evil...even if it means losing her own life in the process.

Watch the book trailer below:




My name is Chrissy Peebles and it’s so fantastic to be on your lovely blog. I work as a nurse by night and an author by day. No time for sleep, because I’m making a last minute mad scramble to make sure my kids have matching clothes, lunches, and backpacks on, and then I’m running out the door half-dressed, a pop tart in one hand, and the phone in the other. And it’s not my cell phone! Shoot. I have to go back. And the rest of my day isn’t any less hectic. The tight-rope act between balancing work, writing, and family is difficult. (but worth it) I think on a day off, I love to read a good book curled up on the couch with a cuddly blanket next to the fireplace in the winter. And when it’s summer, I go down to the beach and throw down a blanket and just read until I have to come home to get the kids off the school bus.

In September, I published my first YA novel called, Agartha’s Castaway. Writing this book has been such an amazing journey and experience. The feedback has been fantastic, and one thing I’ve learned is that many people are curious about the idea behind this novel. And I think that’s fantastic! These are two questions I’m frequently asked: “How did you come up with that? What was your inspiration?”

My inspiration came from my desire to share my overactive imagination…to entertain. And here is how it all started:

It was a hot summer day and I went to an exhibit at the zoo called, "Dinosaurs!". Eighteen of the automatons stood along a prehistoric promenade around Waterfowl Lake, moving their limbs hydraulically and bellowing through implanted speakers. Some of them were huge and lifelike, especially the T-rex. Watching the robotic reptiles was so much fun and we learned so much about the mighty lizards. My daughter looked up at me with her big brown eyes and pigtails and said, “Mommy, you should write about dinosaurs.”

I thought long and hard about that statement. I thought it’d be fun to take three normal, contemporary teenagers and throw them into a fantastic, not-so-normal situation. You know, really throw them out of their element. I thought dinosaurs could do just that. I’ve always loved dinosaurs and I didn’t think there was anything like that in the young adult genre. I could even make it more unique by throwing in a sci-fi twist and a crush. I really loved the idea of my main MC having a massive crush on one of her friends. Maybe I was even mimicking my own life. When I was a teenager, I had the biggest crush on my blond haired, blue eyed best friend. He was hot!
I pondered. What would happen if one was stranded on a deserted island with a popular dead-drop gorgeous MTV reality star? The ideas brewed in my head all day long. I really wanted to come up with something original and different. So I just started brainstorming and writing like a mad woman, and then my characters emerged: Mike’s a championship surfer, Jack’s a popular jock, and Casey is trying to find herself as she sheds her tomboy image. Idea after idea kept popping into my head and suddenly I was writing the book.

My main goals were to entertain, snag the reader’s attention, and never let go. I knew the best way to accomplish this was to write about what I loved—fantasy. Fantasy is my favorite genre to write because I've always had a vivid imagination. I love it so much because I can weave or spin any storyline I want, create my own fantasy world and characters, and let my imagination spill over. There’s nothing more fun than that!

Thanks for having me today. Please feel free to connect with me online.

My blog: http://chrissypeebles.blogspot.com/

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Formatting in Indie Books

Editing. Proofreading. Formatting.

None of those things are remotely fun or the stuff that writers want to do, but they are all absolutely crucial to the process of putting a book on the shelves, be it in brick-and-mortar stores or on the proverbial Amazon e-Shelves.

Formatting, in particular, is what I'm talking about today. Last night I went on a late-night Amazon hunt on my *amazing* Kindle Fire (seriously, if you need/want an eReader, get a Fire. I love mine.) in search of some Indie reads. I'm an Indie author and I love to share the love with other Indies. If I can pump another author, I will. I love that aspect of reading/writing/helping. However.

HOWEVER.

It took me four - count 'em - FOUR books before I found one that was formatted to have chapters start on new pages. That's all. Just a new chapter on its own new page. Sounds simple enough, right? I mean, that's what all books are supposed to have. I was twitching after the third book was a jumble of chapters and copyrights and dedications, all melded onto one page with no true beginning or end. It was uncanny.

It made me sad.

Writers, I call out to you! Formatting your book - I'm not talking drop caps and the like, just the simple chapter starting on a new page - is NOT hard. Yes, it takes time. But...that being said, I am not alone when I say if I download a sample and can't figure out where one chapter ends and another begins, I won't buy the book. You could have the BEST book. You could have the next Harry Potter or Twilight or whatever the next craze will be, but if it's not formatted correctly, that means I as a reader have to pull away from the story to figure out what's going on. That takes away from your writing. It takes away from the story. You're effectively taking readers away from what they should be focusing on - your characters, plot, etc., and making them try to figure out what's going on.

Not cool.

Now, I'm completely aware that we Indies (and a lot of traditionally pubbed, too), aren't striking it rich. Believe me, I know. I see my Kindle Direct reports. :) But that doesn't mean we shouldn't take pride in our work. That we shouldn't make it as professional as possible.

You don't have to be a whiz to format your book. You don't have to pay a ton to format your book. Does knowing HTML help? Could you pay out the nose to format? Sure, but before my husband learned HTML (he formats my books - God love him.), I simply formatted my books in Word. I'm broke. I can't pay for formatting when I am buying formula for my son. Things like not tabbing in and instead indenting with the ruler, page breaking instead of hard returns to the next page, etc. are what will make a confusing myriad of words and chapters become a more professional looking work. It's really that simple. And that extra hour you spend doing that could earn you downloads. I'm serious.

I won't drop names of books, but the three books I sampled before finding one with chapters starting on their own pages (I didn't even look at editing/proofreading/anything else. Just chapters. Call me OCD) are all within the top 1,000 paid books on Amazon. Now I know that's a small sampling of what's out there, and I'm quite positive that there are many more books that don't have that issue. I'm simply putting it out there: as an Indie author, we have to strive to be above the traditional bar to be noticed. We're already fighting a long-standing stigma, so we should try to make it as easy on ourselves as possible. Indies are starting to become more respected, and taking the time to properly format our books make us look that much more like a traditionally published eBook.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: take pride in the book you've worked so hard to create. Take pride in the fact that you've written a BOOK. You. Wrote. A. Book. Not many people can say that. Now do what you can to make it the very best possible. That starts with the formatting, the editing, the proofreading. It all comes down to the substance. Make your book shine. Make it legitimate. If you can do those things, readers will come. Word of mouth starts. You'll see the downloads come in.

And it all starts with pride.

And a chapter starting on a new page, if you're OCD like me. :)

*If you've read this far, please, leave a comment and let me know if you'd be interested in me posting some how-to's on simple formatting and what not. I'd be happy to do so if there's enough interest! I'm all about passing on knowledge where I may just have something to offer. :)*

Bewitched by Jayde Scott cover reveal


Amber Reed is a dead girl walking.


Having just been turned by her gorgeous vampire boyfriend, eighteen-year-old Amber Reed is bestowed with the ability to see ghosts. Between trying to figure out how to control her bloodlust and solving the mysterious disappearance of a friend, Amber realizes someone wants to step into her shoes so badly, they’ll do anything to take her place.


When one secret after another pops up, the only person who believes her is her enemy, Devon. Amber can’t figure out if he’s here to help or save his own immortal race from losing the ancient war against the vampires. What she does know, however, is that she can’t resist his good looks just as much as she can’t help becoming someone else…

In a world of dark magic and ancient enemies, three powerful courts fight for supremacy, and Amber might just be the pawn in winning this war forever. But how’s a girl to survive when everyone wants her dead?


Bewitched by Jayde Scott will be released on March 5th, 2012.



Listen to Requiem For A Dream, the inspiration behind Bewitched



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Write What You Know.


1994 by Devyn Dawson


Eighteen years ago today I woke up at five in the morning, showered, did my hair and went to the hospital.  I don’t remember if it was unseasonably cold or hot, I remember excitement.  It was a family affair.  My family (mom, sister, niece, aunts, friends) all gathered at the hospital to eagerly meet my baby boy.  It was especially busy that day, or so the nurses told me when I had to wait for my turn in the operating room.  My daughter was 3 1//2 and wore the perfect little outfit and French braids in her hair, she waited with my mom.  He would be my mom’s thirteenth and final grandchild.  At 8:05 a.m. my husband and I met our son Hunter, he weighed 7lbs 9 oz and 19 inches long and bald as a cue ball (per my mom).  The first moments of his life in our cold and brutal world were sketchy, but he pulled through and would bring years of laughter.  There were 16 babies born on that day in 1994, I wonder what life brought forth for them.  I wonder if they are eagerly waiting for high school graduation, senior prom, college applications and life as an adult.  In the last 18 years we’ve had many triumphs and sorrow.  Hunter has lost both grandmothers, my mom and his dad’s mom.  He has lived in two states, Oklahoma and North Carolina. He is funny, smart and easily distracted.  He loves music, girls, and hanging out with the guys.  He is now 6’ tall and 155 lbs with brown curly hair and big brown eyes.  My son is leaving childhood and beginning life as an adult.  If you’ve ever wondered where my character Abel came from, he is all the good things my baby boy is.  Happy Birthday Hunter - Love Mom

Thank you for reading..... and the next time you read my series The Legacy of Kilkenny, remember Abel is a touch of my son Hunter.  I think that all writers have a bit of their own life experiences in their stories.  Every writer will tell you... "write what you know".  That doesn't mean to be literal, but draw from those experiences.  Many of my characters are a mixture of people I've known throughout the years.  The maternal characters are a bit of all the women I know.  Recently, I was asked by a new blogger what type of book blogging should she do.  Well, what if I told her she should blog about Amish fiction books?  That would be silly if all she reads is young adult.  I can't tell you what to write, but it will flow easier if you know the subject well.  Where would Erma Bombeck have gotten if she didn't draw from her life?  Think about it, and let it flow!


Good luck and happy writing!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Questions and Answers




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 of my story I had while sitting in a movie theater watching a flick. I only saw the first scene of my story, probably half a page of writing. When I started writing the story, it just started flowing to me.

What are five things that are must haves when you are writing?

My computer or lap top, peace and quiet, contentment, relaxation, and a whole lot of coffee. Though I've written with a lack of all of these at times, these are what make writing most enjoyable.

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

C.S. Lewis's The Magician's Nephew and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. As a preteen these stories were so magical to me and I used to wish I could go to Narnia like the Pevensie siblings did.

What is the hardest emotion for you to convey?

Hmm ... that's a tricky one. Probably being too serious. I love humor in all situations so I have to be careful with that.

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

I'm blessed with an awesome family. My three children are very talented. The oldest two are musicians and the youngest a dancer. Also, my only daughter and I are pretty much bff.

Which came first for you--the characters, the idea for the setting, or the plot?…

Another tricky one. I'll go with the characters. But even though I think of them before I write about them, I don't put too much thought into them until I actually start writing about them. Then they come to life on their own. Actually, that's why I love to write; I feel like I'm being led by my characters, getting to know their personalities as I'm writing. Seeing them doing what their doing as they do it. Though of course there are times I'll say "Nah … that ain't working," and then I edit. :)

Check out my books at www.themagicwarble.com and www.theblackshard.com

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Misery Loves Company







Who hasn’t heard ‘misery loves company’?  I think I've heard that my entire life. I’m sure I’ve even said it when I was in one of those ‘moods’. No worries, this post is not one of those I’m mad or sad and want to vent about it kind of things – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. 
I think it is safe to say that a lot of us pay little attention to our mood – or how our mood affects others around us, yet it’s something we ‘feel’ everyday.  On top of not paying much attention to our mood – we rarely focus on how our thoughts are negative or positive – and our thoughts create our mood – so to alter one, we must alter the other (easier said than done, especially if you’re a writer!)
While writing Willow Haywood’s story, in the Insight series, I’ve come to understand emotions on a much deeper level. This character feels everyone’s emotions. It’s a six sense that I personally would never want to tap into – I mean think about it how many people around you battle some kind of fear or anxiety from moment to moment , and how many people around you clearly live in a state of bliss. I’m sure the negative emotions would out weight the bliss, even inside of you. Living in bliss is hard when you have millions of thoughts a day that can transport you to a dark thought or a dread.  It’s almost as if we have this idea embedded in us that if we think about what we don’t want to happen that it won’t, or we feel that if we think about everything that could go wrong that we will find away to avoid it. And when we are happy – we are always waiting – waiting for that one thing that will take it away from us.
Don’t get me wrong, I'm most defiantly not a negative person or see the dark side of everything – in fact I would like to say that I live closer to that ‘bliss’ emotion, but at the same time I have fears, little ones, and big ones just like everyone else. And I don’t think that our humanity has turned into some anxiety prone civilization, but I do think that at times we blindly ignore our emotions…and later wonder why we feel…well, bad for no reason.
Let me explain where this thought process of mine came from. Like I said before, I tend to live closer to that ‘bliss’ state. I wasn’t always this happy. The joy I live in came when I began to write, when I made it a point to escape into a story every day and let all the big and little things in the world around me grow silent. Before writing I stayed in reality, worried about my family, career and sometimes absurd things that would never happen.  Those worries, at times, would cause anxiety. I remember being in a completely calm environment and for no reason I would feel fear, and my thoughts would spiral until the point that my heart would race, or I would feel hot – even sick. Like I said I got over that when I found my bliss – writing.
So imagine my surprise when a few months ago, while writing a brand new series, my anxiety came back. It didn’t make any sense to me. I was writing – a lot. In fact I was clearing close to 4,000 words a day on top of working a full time ‘day’ job and raising a family. At first I thought it was because I was at that ‘insane’ point -  the point where the characters in my head are so loud that I just have to get them out – on paper, so I can have a free thought again. I thought perhaps that on some subconscious level the anxiety was coming from the fact that I didn’t have the time I wanted to have to write.  When the first draft of the novel I was working on was complete the anxiety stopped. That must mean I was right about the fact that I was just stressed about not having enough time to write – right? Wrong – I was so wrong, and didn’t figure out why until just a few days ago.
I was reading through that novel, doing a few re-writes, and a lot of editing , and guess what -  the anxiety was back. I couldn’t sit still, my hands were constantly fidgeting, my knees would bounce – my thoughts were erratic. You would have thought I was on some kind of major caffeine high(oh how I love Red Bull). I still didn’t understand why. I love this story why was it making me fanatical. What was it about Charlie Myers that was making me crazy?

Then one day I was explaining the difference between this main character, Charlie Myers, and Willow Haywood to a friend, and it all made sense. I wasn’t insane or falling back into anxiety prone thoughts – my characters were!
Willow had the six sense of emotion long before she danced in my thoughts – she had a balance with this sense and often explained the emotions others and herself were feeling in her own subtle way. Charlie Myers doesn’t have this sense. She’s seventeen, she hears sinister whispers constantly, and shadows come to life before her and mock the images of man. On top of all of that she has lost most of her memory. Charlie battled anxiety. She was always prepared for something dark and unexplainable to happen to her. If she wasn’t worried about the sinister darkness around her she was fighting a heartbeat that would pound in her chest, shortness of breath – the inability to compose simple sentences when she was in the presence of Draven Michaels. When he looked at her with his emerald green eyes laced in black he would leave her speechless, his hypnotic voice would all but paralyze her, and when she saw him play his guitar rational thought was nowhere to be found.
It all made sense when I realized how different these characters were. Even though my ‘personal’ thoughts were full of bliss – I was channeling Charlie, feeling her emotions as if they were my own, which is positive if you really think about it ( at least from a writers point of view!)
I always learn from my characters, but I never imagined that I would learn a lesson this deep, one that I can always use in my real life. Our thoughts are powerful. They can control our emotions, and our emotions control our perspective, and our perspective alters the way we live our lives. We chose to see bliss and we chose to see darkness.
So, whether you are a writer or just an avid reader I challenge all of you to ask yourself next time you feel bad, stressed, or just unhealthy to consider the thoughts that are racing through your mind….we all have the power to change our direction – one thought at a time!
Misery may love company, but so does bliss….find your bliss today!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Interview with Kendare Blake

Welcome, guest author, Kendare Blake!

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

The inability to put it down, combined with a real sense of empathy for the characters. If I’m invested in them, it’s a winner. I love it when a book totally messes up my schedule, or ruins my plans. For example, right now, A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin is destroying my life. Damn you, Martin! Damn you!

How did you find your cover? If you didn't find it, do you like it?

How did I find it? Like, do I like it? Because I love it. I love the grays and the detail, and the way the gloss red sets itself off from the matte. Nekro is one crazy amazing artist. Seth Lerner is one crazy talented art director. Mel Frain is one crazy creative editor. The cover concept was her idea.

When you are reading which do you prefer: paperback, hardcover or e-book:

Either paperback or hardback is fine. Hardback is harder for me to damage when I’m toting them around in my bag, which is always good, but then again, paperbacks are lighter on my shoulder. I’m learning to embrace the e-book as well, but so far the only book I’ve read as an e-book is Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants. Which was great.

Current favorite band:

For whatever reason, I’m into The Black Keys right now. And Metric gets into my head quite frequently. Fleet Foxes are endlessly easy to listen to. I’m always waiting for Fiona Apple to do another album. And to tour. Seriously woman, tour!!

Best movie you have ever seen:

Oh, that’s hard. There are so many movies to love. Recently, for acting, I adored Rabbit Hole, with Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart. For action, I was pleasantly surprised by Thor, and X-Men first Class, but let’s be honest, that’s owed entirely to James McAvoy and the film making Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon just that much easier. Oh, and one last movie I never mention but should: MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND.

In the world currently so many people have self esteem issues. Name one thing you like about yourself!

This might sound odd, but I love the fact that my brain stores random movie trivia automatically, like breathing. I don’t study it, and honestly, I don’t watch a huge number of movies. But if I see a title, or read a description, it’s in the vault for life.

 Thank you for joining us Kendare and if there is ever an author movie trivia night I am on your team! To all our readers, thank you for joining us and happy reading!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Interview with Lee Nichols

Please give a warm welcome to Lee Nichols, author of the hauntingly good read Deception.

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

Fun, a sense of escapism.

Do you feel that aspiring writers should start out by writing what they know?

I think the only thing a writer really needs to know is the genre they're writing in. One shouldn't write a paranormal YA novel when all they've read is Twilight. But you don't have to be a detective to write a mystery or an elf to write a fantasy or even a teacher to write children's books. You just need the ability to create a believable world that will engage readers.

How do the novels you write differ from the novels you enjoy reading?

I read everything, women's fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, mysteries and probably my favorite recent reads have been literary. I am in no way literary.

If you could choose any part of the world to live in for just one year, where would you go and why?

So tough to choose, so many places I still want to see. I've never been to Italy, so I'd love that. But Japan would be really cool. And I'd be really happy living in NYC for a year--not forever, but a year would be awesome.

What are your biggest concerns about people around the world currently?

Oh, what isn't a concern? I worry about everything! Because the U.S. is directly involved, I think what's bothering me most are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 Thank you for joining us Lee! To all your readers out there I hope you enjoyed the interview and thank you for joining us here on The Writers Voice!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Anthology release!



When I was younger, I tried to avoid writing love stories. I threw in lots of action and adventure and high stakes...and yet somehow, my characters would always end up falling in love somewhere along the way.

Now that I'm older, I realize that I do love a good love story. I like seeing how two characters try to be together despite all the things keeping them apart. Or how two characters try desperately not to fall in love and yet do anyway. So, yes, I write love stories. Of course, I like to think that the romance isn't all that they're about, they're also about family and friendships and finding your place in the world, but there usually is a love story woven into it as well.

Valentine's Day is a good holiday for romantics like me. I know it's passed, but if you're still in the mood for a few love stories, check out the Love, Me anthology of young adult short stories that was just released this month!

This anthology features short stories by authors Sarah Tregay, T.K. Richardson, Ela Lond, Amy Kinzer, Emily Ann Ward, and myself.

A first kiss, a high school prom, the county fair, a tender embrace, finding true love, and coming of age are themes weaved into the stories found in Love, Me. From established YA authors comes this sweet and telling anthology of young love.

All proceeds from the sale of the anthology will be donated to CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for their work with children in the foster care system in the United States.

If you've read my ebook The Boyfriend Thief, then you'll recognize the characters in my short story "One Week." It's a prequel to The Boyfriend Thief and is narrated by Avery's best friend Molly. I loved writing about these characters I already knew so well again.

Love, Me is available in ebook format from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can also add it to your to read list on Goodreads.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cover Art LOVE Bokheim Media Story



So some of you know I have been doing a lot of cover art work with my publisher Bokheim Publishing's new division Bokheim Media. Which is super exciting and TONS of fun! I have been asked lately how I ended up working with the cover art division and decided "Hey, why not make a post on it!".

I have been interested in art for as long as I have been interested in writing. They have always been the two constants in my life. I went through phases of thinking hair dying was cool, circus stunts (so much fun), Shakespearean acting, fencing (wish I were still doing that one), stunt swordplay, sculpting... Well, you get the picture. I went through a LOT of phases and throughout all of them I still always wrote and did my art. So when my first novel was getting ready to come out they asked if I had a preference on what cover artist they use. I 'may' have 'kind of' taken the "Do you have a preference?" as "Do you have a concept?" and decided to tell them what I had imagined.

Luckily, they liked my idea and asked if I had a history with art because of how detailed I was and the different factors I understood. I explained that other than writing, art was my main interest and had been my main study as well. I ended up working together with the artistic manager at that time and we found an artist we felt could take our concept and bring it to life. We specifically wanted high resolution and the detailing in the eye to be a roman numeral clock but we also had a very short time-line to work with. Luckily we found a wonderful artist (thanks to DeviantArt) who was able to put this together with the Bokheim team:

When my second novel came out it was time to see if my taste in art had been a fluke or not. Luckily, we once again ended up with art that we all agreed on:
After we found the cover for Anasazi I decided to start making a portfolio of my own art to show them and to ask if I might become a part of the team as one of the artists. After an entire DeviantArt profile full of art and a few trial covers I ended up being added to the team. After seeing that I tended to be the one with the concepts I ended up being chosen to be the Bokheim Media Director! From there I... well, you all have seen The Writers Voice grow. I guess I just decided I wanted to expand Bokheim Media with their permission so now it is also a cover art service instead of just being a division of the publisher! Here is a look at some of the covers we have done since then:


 I have been enjoying this work so much! The best part is, it hasn't hurt my writing at all, if anything it has inspired me to work harder on everything I am doing! Bokheim has their websites and blogs but I also added a facebook for anyone who wants to get to see the covers as they are finished/approved!

So there you have it! I guess when I write it out like that is sounds pretty simple doesn't it. If you want to keep seeing the covers feel free to add the facebook and if you ever have any cover art needs *winks* you can always check it out!

ALSO: Bokheim Media has a pro bono program for indie and self published authors who are having a hard time finding the finances for covers. They only select specific novels for it but feel free to spread the word about it. I think it is one of the more important things they do. The entire company shares a belief that a great book deserves the best chance it can get and feel that cover art is an important part of getting the public's attention. If you know anyone who has run into trouble being able to afford cover art just have them send an e-mail our way and maybe we can help: BokheimMedia@Bokheim.com

Monday, February 13, 2012

Evergreen by Brenda Pandos cover reveal

Here's the cover reveal of the upcoming Mer Tales #2, Evergreen! Coming June 29, 2012, it's the continuation of where Everblue left off.

A kingdom on the brink of war.
A king on the fringes of insanity.
A family running for their lives.

Ash and Fin’s only desire is to be together and dive into their happily ever after, though their conflicting worlds work to pull them apart. Neither is ready to convert to the other’s life: become a human or a mer. Little do they know that somewhere in Natatoria a secret holds the fine fabric of everyone’s lives together. If the truth is discovered, Ash and Fin will no longer have the luxury of waiting. They’ll be forced to choose. But will it be for loyalty or love? Or will someone else make the choice for them if they can’t decide?

Enter the watery world of treachery, greed, and the binding mer kiss as the story continues with Evergreen, book two of Mer Tales.

I'm excited and... I have a lot of work to do!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

TEENS CAN DO ANYTHING


Hey Fellow book-Lovers!

Since it is the week of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would take today to share with you a post from my blog which has garnered more LOVE (as measured by page views) than any other single post. Like more than ten others combined. That’s a lot of love. I wish you a lovely Valentine’s Day and I hope this post gives you a bit of inspiration to follow your heart, to listen to where it wants to lead you.

Hugs and Chocolate Kisses,
Cidney

HOW FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLDS CHANGED MY LIFE

It took two fifteen-year-old boys to convince me to follow my heart and start writing full time. Fifteen’s this great age. You’ve survived the battle arena of middle school and probably made it through your first year of high school. And in some part of you that maybe doesn’t hover on the surface, you know—absolutely know—that you can do something great.


Yeah, maybe a person or circumstance in your life has shoved that knowledge down to the deep end of the pool and tied it there with a big rock, but you still know it’s there, it’s true, and it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks because you know it.

Look around at the adults in your life: how many of them still know this, carry it around in their pockets? One? Two? Zero? We get old and we get tired and we forget that we ever felt this way once.  I mean, adults write sentences like “It’s never too old to be what you might have been” precisely because we have to see it spelled out in black and white to even remember what we knew at fifteen.

Four years ago I found Eragon by Christopher Paolini. I was standing in my Costco, looking at the books table (the coolest part of Costco.) As I browsed, I overheard these grandmas talking.

 “Wrote it when he was a teenager, and he’s a real nice kid. He home-schooled with one of my grandchildren.”

Well, you can bet that caught my attention. This gorgeous book was written by a teen? Whaaat? Anyway, I bought the book and loved it. And I thought to myself, Wow. This kid: he’s like, fifteen, and he didn’t have any issues with writing a freaking long book. He just did it. And then did it again.

That same year, I noticed another fifteen-year-old (my son) knocking out a couple of novels every couple of months. And I thought to myself: Wow. Where do you get that kind of belief in yourself and your abilities that lets you just do what you want to do? And it’s like this light popped on, blinding me: when you’re a teenager, you know that you can do anything. Seriously, Teens. Can. Do. Anything. 

So on March 20, 2009, I told myself: “No more ‘I’m-going-to-write-a-novel-someday;’ I need to just write. Like those fearless fifteen-year-olds. Forget ‘someday.’ This is someday.”

You know how adults or teachers say that their kids teach them so much? (Yeah, we do say that, and if you’re a teen and the adults in your own life aren’t saying it, that sucks—they should, because it’s true!) So anyway, it took a pair of undaunted teenage boys to teach me that if I wanted to do something bad enough, I needed to just start. Today. 

No matter what your age is: be that fifteen-year-old version of yourself.  And if you are fifteen? Do what you know you can do. Do it now before you get old and forgetful and busy doing things that don’t really matter to you anyway. Take it from a late-bloomer. Nuff said.

Thank you, Chris Paolini, for showing me that it’s okay to do what you dream of doing and that if you weren’t too young to do it, then maybe I wasn’t too old. And thanks to my son, the ‘JWS’ to whom I dedicated my first book. Because if it weren’t for him and Paolini and their teenager-ability to just do stuff, I wouldn’t be writing novels today.

And that would just be sad.

Thanks so much, everyone, for stopping by to visit. Come say hi anytime! Now for gifties (you knew they were coming!)

Follow me via GFC on my blog below as one entry for this rafflecopter. You might win a very valentine-y tale: your choice of e-book from my Ripple Trilogy!