Wednesday, October 31, 2012

CONTEST: Which Character Would You be for Halloween?

Happy Halloween, everyone! 

I was so excited when it turned out to be my turn to post on Halloween. It's my favorite holiday of the year. I get to decorate every room in my house, watch scary movies and Halloween-themed TV shows, and make my front yard look like a creepy cemetery, all while assuring my husband that it's just to make memories for our six-year-old. (Guess he'll discover the truth in a few years).

Any-who... [insert innocent whistle here]

What I didn't realize was how much pressure I'd feel to write the perfect Halloween post. The topics are really endless! Fortunately, I was presented with a wonderful idea when I received an e-mail not too long ago. One of my Estilorian fans, a young lady named Lindsey, reached out to me and said that she wanted to dress up as my character, Olivia, for Halloween

First of all, HOLY WITCH BALLS!!! Someone who read my books wants to be one of my characters for Halloween?? Talk about a super-star moment! I couldn't have been more excited.

Second, thank you, Lindsey, for inspiring me. You made me wonder which literary character I'd want to dress up as for Halloween. There are so many genres and types of characters that it's hard to narrow it down, isn't it?

After mentally making my way from The Great Gatsby to Twilight and everything in between, I finally settled on one of my all-time favorite female characters: Lieutenant Eve Dallas from J.D. Robb's "In Death" series. She's a total bad-ass, married to a super-hot bajillionaire, and has so many layers that I never tire of reading about her. Florida heat aside, I can definitely see myself trick-of-treating in one of her long leather coats with a futuristic weapon at my side.

But enough about me. Which character costume would you don and why? I've decided to host a little contest for everyone who responds. The winner will receive their choice of eBook: Defy, Shift or Elder (which comes out later this year) and some Estilorian swag. So give it your best shot!

The winner will be announced next week on my blog, so be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tips For Getting Into Character

Tips for Getting Into Character

Many artists and creative people talk about "awaking the muse." This is a place in your mind where you’re running on automatic pilot. That creatively part known as the right side of the brain is fully engaged and the left side, aka the logical side, is snoozing with one ear open, always ready to be reawakened for problem solving. It is in this state that people often get lost in an activity, lose track of time, and produce some of their best creative work.
When you’re getting into character, it’s best to be poke your muse (a popular facebook game). Approach these fiction writing exercises when you’re calm and relaxed and willing to let your imagination override your logical thinking.
How do you do this? Before sitting down to take on any writing venture, find a way to relax: walking, yoga, gardening (works wonders for me, btw) swimming. You can also meditate or simply take a few minutes to lie down and relax and free your mind of the day's stresses. Listen to music, but keep it calm. Don't blast your Muse or heavy metal mp4s. Instead, choose something relaxing and meditative. Once your mind is still, you’ll be ready to get into your character's mind.
Exercise #1: A chat with your character (Don't be laughing now)
We do it online all of the time. There are people we meet on facebook, twitter, goodreads, etc. and we instantly strike up a conversation with them that just kind of flows. Suddenly, you're thinking: "Wow! It feels kind of like I've known this person forever." One thing you probably will find is that you learn an awful lot about this person through a few simple lines. Try this with your character. But instead of entering your conversation in a box, write out the dialogue in a short blurb. 
Exercise #2: Stand-in Situation
Put your character in a situation and see how she handles it. If you’re already working on a story, then try removing your character from it and placing him a completely different setting. Think of riveting scenes from books you’ve read or movies that you’ve seen, or use scenes from your own life.
Here's an example of one way I introduced my lead character the Seraphine Trilogy to readers:
My name is Caleb Wood.

I’m 17-years-old and I attend Ashley George High School on the Isle of New Bern in North Carolina. I live in a house that’s near the beach and drive a midnight blue Challenger with rims that glow in the dark. Right. So basics are out of the way now.

A long time ago, I almost drowned. Yeah, yeah, I know. That sounds pretty stupid right? But here’s the thing, though. I didn’t croak in the ocean that day. Something, or rather, someone saved me. I dream about this girl all of the time. It’s like this really weird thing has happened to me. I can’t explain it. I just know that for the first time in my short life, I feel like I can’t breathe. I don’t know. It’s hard to explain.

I wonder if I’ll ever know who she is. Will she haunt me, torture me, and possess my soul forever?

So tell me, what should I do? Should I look for her? Or do I need to just let it go? 

Nah. I can’t do that. I have to know who she is? It all started with that kiss.

The power inside of a kiss is a hypnotic thing, a mystical force, the beginning of my obsession.


I wrote that letter sometime long before I actually finished the last draft. But from inside of it I pulled three vital aspects of my character:

1)  His name and age
2)  His tagline (The power inside of a kiss line)
3)  The romantic aspect of this male POV's personality

Try something like these exercises when you need to truly feel as though you're creating a living breathing character. Both you and your readers will benefit from your conversations with your muse. 

Yours in Prose,
KaSonndra Leigh

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Raven

In honor of Halloween, I'm posting the haunting words of Edgar Allan Poe.  Published 1845

Devyn Dawson

I heard this poem for the first time, when I was in seventh grade.  From the first words, I was captivated.  It was the moment I realized poetry could be about something haunting and dark.  No other piece of literature has ever been so profound to me.  Enjoy.

From Wikipedia, this is the publishing history of the poem.

Poe first brought "The Raven" to his friend and former employer George Rex Graham of Graham's Magazine in Philadelphia. Graham declined the poem, which may not have been in its final version, though he gave Poe $15 as charity.[29] Poe then sold the poem to The American Review, which paid him $9 for it,[30] and printed "The Raven" in its February 1845 issue under the pseudonym "Quarles", a reference to the English poet Francis Quarles.[31] The poem's first publication with Poe's name was in the Evening Mirroron January 29, 1845, as an "advance copy".[15] Nathaniel Parker Willis, editor of the Mirror, introduced it as "unsurpassed in English poetry for subtle conception, masterly ingenuity of versification, and consistent, sustaining of imaginative lift ... It will stick to the memory of everybody who reads it."[4] Following this publication the poem appeared in periodicals across the United States, including the New York Tribune (February 4, 1845), Broadway Journal (vol. 1, February 8, 1845), Southern Literary Messenger (vol. 11, March 1845), Literary Emporium (vol. 2, December 1845), Saturday Courier, 16 (July 25, 1846), and the Richmond Examiner (September 25, 1849).[32] It has also appeared in numerous anthologies, starting with Poets and Poetry of America edited by Rufus Wilmot Griswold in 1847.

The Raven
Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-
Only this, and nothing more."
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;-vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow-sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me-filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"-here I opened wide the door;-
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore!"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"-
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-
'Tis the wind and nothing more."

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning-little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door-
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered-not a feather then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown before-
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never-nevermore'."

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee-by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite-respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!-prophet still, if bird or devil!-
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
On this home by horror haunted-tell me truly, I implore-
Is there-is there balm in Gilead?-tell me-tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil-prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us-by that God we both adore-
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked, upstarting-
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!-quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted-nevermore!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tammy Blackwell Giveaway!

Give a warm welcome to our guest author of the day
Tammy Blackwell!

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

I just hope people enjoy reading my books. Sure, there are some lessons to be learned about choices and consequences, and I’m really trying hard to paint an accurate picture of the rural South, but none of that matters if you don’t enjoy the experience of reading.

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

Transitions. And not just the “get from one chapter to the next” or “one scene to the next” transitions. Some days it was near impossible to get from one sentence to the other without drawing blood. If you’ve never sat down and honestly tried to write down one of the stories in your head before the transitions can kill you!

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?

A few weeks ago I held a critiquing session for my second book, Time Mends. The participants were all teens I have been working with for the last four to six years. It was a great experience. I appreciate all my fans, but these teens are the reason I wrote Destiny Binds in the first place. Seeing them get excited about Scout’s story is the truest measure of success for me.

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

I know I like a book when I’m so emotionally invested I physically react. If I’m giggling or crying or if my heart is racing, I know it’s good.

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

In stereo-typical YA librarian fashion, I’m going with J.D. Salinger. BUT I’m going to shake things up a bit by picking “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” That story has stuck with me for a long time and taught me how the best endings are the most unexpected.

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

I am more frightened by automatic car washes than zombies.

Thank you for stopping by The Writers Voice!
For all of you readers out there here is a chance to win Tammy's amazing novel Destiny Binds!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 26, 2012

Interview with Lish McBride


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

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

The middle bits always seem to give me a hard time. My pacing gets a bit dodgy around then and we have to do some extensive tightening.

What scares you most?

I’m not overly fond of clowns. I’ve been known to cross the street to avoid them. Other than that I think most of my fears are the general ones most adults have: career failure, family members falling ill, etc. Now that I think about it, kids have similar fears, except replace career with 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?

I don’t really plot in the traditional sense (at least not with my books. In life, yes. One must plot world domination occasionally.). I generally know some scenes I want to get to, part that I see very clearly, like a snap shot. The rest sort of happens on the way. I had a class on Canadian literature once where we got to interview the authors, and one of them was Michael Winter. When asked this question he likened it to driving at night—occasionally the headlights hit something and you see it clear and frozen in minute detail. But it’s only that one piece. Everything around it is darkness. I think that description is pretty apt. Generally I aim toward the scenes I see clearly and my characters tell me how they would react on the way. Sometimes that approach can lead to the plot going somewhere else, but I’ve learned to trust it. I tried to do a plot storyboard for book one once. I spent hours on it, and then completely ignored it once it was done. For that book it was a waste of time. However, every novel is different. Like with children, some tactics seem to work beautifully for some and fail when applied elsewhere. I might hit a book at some point where I’ll need to plot everything out.

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 feel like this most of the time (except when I need to pay bills—ha!). Frequently it’s during the times when I get notes back from my editor and all the notes are about lawn gnomes and chupacabras and silly things and I think, “This is my job. I get to be silly for a living. How awesome is that?” However, I think any job where you create something—especially something where people feel like they must tell you exactly how they feel about every little thing—can be stressful. People can be incredibly thorough when telling you what you did wrong, what they would have done differently, and how much you suck for not writing faster. It’s a kind of behavior that we don’t think to apply to other jobs. I don’t walk up to the bakery in my market and say, “Sure, your bread was okay, but I think you need to use a higher temperature and different flour and lower the price, and also can you bake me three more loaves by tomorrow?” I mean, I’m sure people do that on occasion, but when it comes to writing, people do it with alarming frequency. And the thing is, I don’t have control over a lot of it. Publication date, what country it’s in, availability in a bookstore, all beyond my control. As for things I could have done differently in the book, well, I can only write the book I know how to write. I try to get better with each go round, but it’s still going to be me writing it. If they want it handled differently, it’s hard not to (nicely) say, “Well, that’s great. When you write your book, I think you should do exactly that.” There can be a lot of pressure when writing a novel—you want it to be something people love as much as you. It can be rough to handle. Still, it’s an amazing and wonderful thing to do. I feel very grateful and appreciative that I get to do so.

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?

Well, I hear differing opinions on “read what you want to write.” Some writers I know avoid their chosen area like the plague—they don’t want to be influenced. I think you should do what works best for you. I do think writers should read as much as possible and in all kinds of areas. I saw Holly Black read a few months back and she talked about how important it was to read outside your comfort zone. I think that’s very wise. You never know where your next story is going to come from or when you might need to know more about a given subject. Do your research. That’s very important, especially if you’re creating a world like in fantasy or other genre writing. Grounding your world in concrete, believable details can give it life. Listen to your characters. Pay attention to the way people talk –it helps you learn how to build dialogue. Meet other writers. Find people you trust to read your work. Find someone who will be nice about it, find someone who will be honest and brutal (but constructive) and find someone who has no interest in writing but just likes to read. Let yourself listen what they have to say—the good and the bad. Don’t take it personally. Most people want to help you become a better writer. But you should also learn when to ignore advice and go with your own feelings on things. This takes practice, unfortunately, and a lot of trial and error. Most writers don’t have the luxury to be able to do nothing but write. Some have schoolwork, jobs, or children to raise—many have all of these things. It’s really easy to let writing slip away in favor of getting everything else done. It’s hard to find balance. Sometimes you have to put it aside so you can take care of your sick kiddo or pick up an extra shift at work. It’s unavoidable. But sometimes you also have to let the dishes sit another day or get up an hour early before work to get a little writing in. Treat it like an appointment if you have to—schedule it in and don’t let it get moved, bumped or forgotten. Even if it’s just an hour a week. And when you get to that hour, attack it like a rabid thing.

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

Sometimes. Occasionally it’s something to help out the plot, or to balance a character out and give them more individuality. It’s often the quirks and such that set good characters apart. Nobody is perfect and your characters shouldn’t be either. There should always be something a little surprising about your characters. They will tell you all about themselves if you listen, but that being said, you have to sometimes construct things about them as well. In HMC,N, Sam has to go visit his biological dad. I decided to make his dad live in Bainbridge Island, WA. I wanted Sam’s dad to be well off (and it’s a fairly affluent area) and I wanted Sam to ride the ferry, so logically it’s a good choice, but it also sets up some aspects of character. By picking that area, I know what kind of house to give his dad. If I think about why he chose there over another place, I might be able to guess some other things about his character like lifestyle and personality. The more you think about a character, the more you understand them. Sometimes it’s good to do writing exercises with new characters because then you learn more about them. I recently wrote a short story where Frank was the main focus. He’s very much a supporting character in HMC,N so I didn’t know too much about him. But for the story I got to plug him into a certain situation and watch him react. I got to find his voice. It was a great thing for me to do, because now I understand Frank a lot more. It’s a lot of extra work sometimes to do these kinds of exercises for characters, but it’s worth it.

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

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Interview With Victoria Simcox

With your writing, do you outline? If so how closely do you follow it?
Yes, I use an outline and I do follow it mostly, but there are times when I need to revaluate my outline and change it to head in a different direction.

Has being a novelist changed the way you read and appreciate novels?
Well, I've always loved to read and that has remained the same, but I do find myself evaluating punctuation more than I would have before I started writing novels.

How much do you draw from your own life when constructing your main character?
 I think I draw a lot from people in my life. But I create a character from different character traits of more than 1 person.

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?
This may sound like a simple answer, but they just come to me.

Do you tend to reach the word count you want exactly, overshoot or undershoot? How does it effect your editing?
 I'm usually really close to what I shoot for, so far anyway.
Check out Victoria's personal blog @

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sara Bennett Wealer Giveaway!

Give a warm welcome to our amazing guest author of the day: 
Sara Bennett Wealer, author of Rival and one of the authors featured in the amazing anthology Dear Bully!

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

- I know a book is amazing when I can turn off the author part of my brain. With most books – even ones I really like – I find myself thinking, “Oh I would have done that differently” or “Why did the author make that choice?” or “I love how he/she said that.” A truly amazing book just grabs me and sucks me in and makes me forget about the craft of writing. With an amazing book I can just lose myself in the story.

How did you find your cover?

– My cover was created by the art department at HarperTeen, and I really didn’t have much input. When I first saw it I was a little confused because it looked so different from how I’d imagined it would be. But so many people have said they love it, and I think it’s really gorgeous. I couldn’t be happier!

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

I like hardcovers – I haven’t read many e-books yet. It’s not that I have something against them – I just haven’t purchased a reader. I spend all of my time on a machine when I’m writing (I write for my day job as well) that the idea of reading novels on a machine is rough for me to get my brain around. I know it’s only a matter of time, though. I probably will love it.

Current favorite band:

Do Big Time Rush and Lemonade Mouth count? (Yes, I have kids who love Nick and Disney Channel.) I’m actually giving an old favorite a second chance right now – Tori Amos has a new album out and I’m taking a listen. I was a huge fan, and then wasn’t for awhile. I’d love to love her music again!

Best movie you have ever seen:

I have a ton of favorite movies, but the Lord of the Rings trilogy probably tops my list.

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

I think I’m a pretty wise person, and I’m good at seeing situations from all sides. If you need some good advice, then I’m your girl!

Thank you so much for joining us on 
The Writers Voice!

For all of you fans out there (or future fans) 
here is a chance to win a copy of Rival!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Interview with Jill Hathaway

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

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

If it's a school night and I simply MUST STAY UP TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, I know I'm reading a good book! My editor's voice fades away ("Well, I would have done that differently"), and I get lost in the story.

How did you first find out about your cover? What was your reaction?

My editor sent it to me after I finished my SLIDE revisions. I remember my jaw kind of dropping. It captures the tone of the book so perfectly. I love it! The design team at Harper is amazing!

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

I actually bought a Nook a while book and read a few books on it. BEFORE I FALL, I remember, was one of them, and now I'm kind of bummed because I don't have a physical copy of it. Will have to remedy that soon! I just love having books on my shelf too much to lock them away in an electronic device.

Current favorite band:

A Perfect Circle is my all-time favorite band, but I was recently introduced to The Birthday Massacre on Facebook, and I'm really enjoying their music!

Best movie you have ever seen:

Wow, this question is so hard. I'm going to have to go with Labyrinth. I watch it at least once a year, and it's really held up.

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

I like the words that come out of my head. Sometimes. :)

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New release!

I'm always both nervous and excited to release a new book, so that's how I've been feeling this week. Submerging, the second book in my finfolk series Swans Landing, officially released on Monday!

Submerging by Shana Norris (Swans Landing Book 2)

Sixteen years ago, Sailor Mooring’s mother dove into the Atlantic Ocean and was never seen again. Now, Sailor is following her mother’s long swim to find answers to the questions that have haunted her life: Why did her mother leave? And what really happened the night Sailor’s father died?

Callum Murchadh has spent the last five years banished from his home and his people. At nineteen, he now lives a human life in the northern islands of Scotland, where maintaining a quiet existence is crucial to keeping his secrets hidden.

But having a finfolk girl step off the ferry and into his life was the last thing he expected.

Sailor finds herself both drawn to Callum and frightened by his warnings. He may hold the clues she needs to reach the ancestral home of her people, but knowing whether to trust him isn’t easy.

Buy now at: Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Smashwords, OmniLit, Amazon

You can also add it to your Goodreads list.

The Amazon link, unfortunately, does not currently let you buy the ebook. Remember my last post about things you can't control? This is one of them! I uploaded to all the sites on Sunday afternoon and it processed right away everywhere except Amazon. Amazon lets you search for the book, but it's not buyable even though the KDP admin says it's live. I've got an email about it in with Amazon and they've responded that they're looking into it so hopefully it will be fixed soon. In the meantime, if you want a Kindle file now, you can buy an epub from one of the others sites and convert it using a program such as Calibre, or buy the mobi version from Smashwords or OmniLit and sideload it into your Kindle. So sorry about the problems with Amazon! (This is why I don't go exclusive with just one site.)

If you haven't read the first book Surfacing yet, click over to my website to find out more about this series!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Like A Father

When I first set out to write Dehumanized I had maybe written a bunch of short stories and the first chapter of about ten different books, never to complete them for a multitude of reasons. But I hadn’t ever written a whole novel before Dehumanized. I was never able to get myself to sit and concentrate for so long, which is why I wrote a bunch of short stories, because they don’t require as much time and effort as a full novel.
But when I first sat down to write Dehumanized it was like I was mesmerized. There was just something about this idea in my head that I couldn’t put my finger on. I was entranced. And when I started writing I couldn’t stop.
The fact that I completed this novel is a huge thing for me. A see a lot of blogs about authors who write a few novels before actually trying to get published, and that just seems strange to me. Maybe it’s because I’m only nineteen, but I can’t see myself popping out a few novels and then just discarding them. I get writing the first few chapters of something and then not feeling it, but to write a whole novel and then to just go, “Eh,” and then throw it away? Not possible for me.
I have a hard time concentrating on one thing, and again that could just be my age, but I was never able to concentrate on anything like I did on Dehumanized. I was so absorbed in this fictional world I had created. Even now I get tingles when I think about it. I’d lie awake at night thinking about all the characters and what kind of reactions they’d have in certain situations, what it would take to get them to do this or that, or what kind of activities they’d like outside the storyline. I felt so attached to my own creations, like a father to a child. And there was this whole world I had made, where anything I wanted could happen at any time. If I so chose a meteor could come hurtling down to Earth and the main character could suddenly grow wings and eat the meteor before it hit. Obviously I wouldn’t do that, but the idea that I could do that excited me.
Once I really got into writing, I started to realize what was happening. I wasn’t just writing a simple book: I was pouring my soul out. I was portraying actual emotions I felt into these characters. I was bringing out things I had felt in the past, things I was feeling at the time, and exorcising them onto the pages of this novel.
For example: Ryan Zachery is the main character of Dehumanized, and I feel he received the most of my pent up emotions. In the book he feels trapped, isolated from the rest of the world as if shunned. He holds within him anxiety, frustration, depression, and most of all loneliness. He wishes for a world where everything would just go away and he can be free. The walls around him in the camp he is held prisoner isn’t the only things trapping him. There are walls in his own mind that keep him stuck in place. He dreams of a way to break free, but does nothing to help himself, thus strengthening the walls of his mind.
Throughout Dehumanized, he finally learns to break free of these walls and truly be free of himself. But it doesn’t come easy, there are obstacles in his path he must overcome in order to achieve this freedom. He liked to close his eyes and imagine it just coming to him, and then when he opened his eyes he’d see that freedom has a cost.
Dehumanized isn’t just a product of my imagination. It’s the creation put together by nineteen years of pent up emotions I kept within me and fabricated into a novel. I revere this book not as something I did in order to make money, but as something I love dearly as if it were my own child. There were times I didn’t think this book would make it, times I worried I wouldn’t be able to put it together properly. There were times I’d be so overwhelmed with anxiety about this book I’d have to take a break and breathe. But when the day came when I typed up the final sentence of Dehumanized, I just stared at my screen and marveled. I marveled at the time I put into it, at the hard work I did in order to finish, at the very fact that despite everything I sat down and finished what I started – something more than one person said I’d never be able to do.
Well, I proved them wrong. And now I sit here writing this with my next novel open in another window, ready to be worked on and brought to life just like Dehumanized was. I plan to put just as much time, passion, and love into this book as I did my previous one, and hopefully when it is finished it will receive just as much appreciation as Dehumanized.
Thank you,
Michael Loring.
Follow my blog here.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Readers Asked, So I'm Delivering...a Deleted Scene from SHIFT!

For the first time since I started blogging for The Writer's Voice, I missed my last post. I had many crazy things going on in my life, things I won't go into so I don't sound like I'm making excuses. Suffice it to say that I'm sorry I missed it, and I'll strive not to let it happen again!

My guilty conscience will work to the benefit of my readers, however. I've decided to post a deleted scene from my book, Shift. This is the most requested scene of any of my books, a scene I had to edit from Shift because it was the only one told from Tate's point of view. It pained me to cut it, so I'm thrilled to share it with you today. Without further ado, here it is...the avowing of Tate and Zachariah.

Tate found it hard to stay awake once they left Kanika’s. She felt the influence of Eirik's follower on her mind, blocking her outgoing thoughts. It muffled her thinking all around, making her even more tired. But after a few hours, the mental intrusion eased.

When she glanced at the male maintaining the dampening, she realized he looked weary. She focused as intently as she could on the weight of his presence on her mind. The moment it faltered, she contacted Tiege.

Tell Sparky to go to sleep.

She barely got the thought through before the dampener shook off his stupor and clamped back down. Praying he needed to rest soon, she kept her mind open in case another opportunity arose to convey thoughts. When she had been stranded on the mainland all those weeks ago, Sparky connected with her through her dreams. She figured she stood a good chance of it working now.

A short while later, Ariana mumbled, "Can't go on."

"You will keep flying," Eirik demanded.

"Can't sense the scroll anymore," she said. Her eyes closed and her wings extinguished for a moment before she snapped back to awareness.

That did the trick. They landed on a white sand beach beside a calm, clear blue sea. Tate sank down next to Ariana and closed her eyes.

Within minutes, she saw Sparky standing in a field of wheat. He spotted her. She ran up to him and threw herself into his arms.

“Oh, thank goodness,” she asked against his chest. “Eirik said he had a plan to deal with Tiege, and I thought…but you’re both okay?”

“Yes. But we must hurry. We have no idea how long this connection will last.”

“Hurry?” She frowned. “Oh, you want to know where I am. Well, we’re headed to the lib—”

“No, I want you to exchange vows with me. Now.”

Her eyes going wide, she blinked and repeated, “Exchange vows with you?” Her heart filled with excitement even in light of the awful circumstances. “Sparky, do you mean you want to avow yourself to me?”

“Yes. I believe if we avow in this dream, your subconscious will merge with mine to a point that I should be able to maintain the connection with you even upon your waking.”

Deflated, she said, “That’s why you want to avow yourself to me? Because you want to do a better job of protecting me?”

“Of course,” he said.

Irritation replaced both her fear and her joy over seeing him again. “Well, forget it.” She pushed away from him. “I’ll protect myself before I’ll bind myself to someone for such an unemotional reason.”

“Unemotional?” He reached out and grabbed her by her upper arms. “You think it is a lack of emotion that makes me want to do whatever I can to protect you?”

She looked into his eyes and saw the feelings swirling there. But even if this was a dream, what he asked of her was huge. Even if the act was intended to save her life, she wouldn’t agree unless it was for the right reason.

Hesitating, she asked, “You know that an avowing requires rings, right?”

He released her arms and reached into his pocket. She couldn’t mask her surprise when he pulled out two rings.

“Can we hurry up and get to the vow exchange now?”

“Where did you get those?” she asked.

“This is a dream. I conjured them with a thought.”

Flushing, she just said, “Oh.”

“The vows?” he prompted.

Giving up, she nodded. For an avowed pairing to work, it had to be based on love. Sparky hadn’t ever claimed to love her. She suspected this could be a spectacular failure, but willingly took the ring he handed her and gave him her left hand. He held it in his own hand with the ring poised to slide over her left ring finger. Then he held her gaze and spoke.

“I, Zachariah, wish to pledge myself to you, Tate, in every possible way. You are my world now, as well as my heart. Though it may take all eternity, I will strive to prove myself worthy of your love. I offer you this ring as a symbol of my love and my unbreakable commitment to you.”

Tate’s breath stuck in her throat, which was suddenly much too tight. He slid the ring on her finger. It generated a feeling of warmth that tingled up her hand. From what she understood, an avowed pairing typically required the second being to repeat the words of the first. But, well, their relationship had been nontraditional from the start. She was just going to speak the words in her heart.

Her vow was short and to the point. “I, Tate, love you, Zachariah, more than anything in the world, and want to spend the rest of my existence with you. I offer you this ring as a symbol of my love and my unbreakable commitment to you.”

She slid the ring on his finger. Then they laced their hands together so their rings touched and kissed to seal the vow. Pain flashed across her right shoulder blade and the outside edges of her eyes as they kissed, indicating the making of their avowed markings.

When they parted, tears stung her eyes. “Promise me that when this is over, we’ll do this for real,” she whispered.

I promise. I—

His thought cut off in her mind as she woke up.

So...what did you think?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Owlet by Emma Michaels Release and GIVEAWAY!

It is the big day for the Owlet release! 

Somewhere between falling and flying… there is a girl.

Iris has a secret. She lost her memory eight years ago and never told a living soul. After an asthma attack one night she finds out that her dreams of a strange house on a snowy island may be a memory resurfacing but the more she learns about the past the more she realizes the life she has been living is a lie. As the façade her father has built starts to crumble around her she will have to decide which means more to her; the truth or her life.

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported this release. A special shout out to my amazing publisher Tribute Books who made this happen and is the reason this release has been such a success. I can hardly believe how lucky I am to have you.
Thank you to all the readers, what are books without readers but words or coding? You make novels come to life.
And all of my amazing author friends who make such an amazing support group.
Thank you so much to everyone. It means the world and I will never forget it.

Here is a chance to enter to win a copy or any number of other prizes for the tour!
For more information stop by
Kindle | Nook | PDF | Smashwords | iBookstore

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Interview with Kimberly Derting


Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
Kimberly Derting
Hello Kimberly 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?

I’m not sure I can pinpoint a specific scene that was the hardest to write, but I definitely spent a lot of time on the kissing scenes. Mostly, I wanted to capture that indescribable first-kiss feeling. You know, that chaotic mix of nervousness and exhilaration that teens go through. That wasn’t just me, was it???

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

For the most part, I can write anywhere. Before I had an office, I would write in my kitchen surrounded by the everyday, kid-chaos, which never really bothered me until I would hear: “Mom, Mom, Mom...” enough times that I’d be forced to stop what I was doing and pay attention to them. Now, I have a door. With a lock!

Do you have any closet/trunk novels hidden away?

I actually do have a middle-grade trunk novel that I absolutely love! One day, when I have some “spare” time, I plan to go back and revise it. I also have an adult horror novel, titled ONE OF THEM, which I absolutely hate and will never, ever re-write, no matter how much time I have.

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’ve always loved reading horror and thrillers—anything that’s action-y. (That’s a word, right?) I love getting caught up in a book that I can’t stop thinking about, even after I’m finished reading it. That really hasn’t changed for me, although now I usually look for those kinds of books in the YA section.

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

If the family didn’t need anything from me, I could probably finish a first draft in 6 or 7 weeks. Unfortunately, they need to be fed on a daily basis, so it’s usually more like 3 ½ months. Although, lately, I’ve been writing almost 12 hours a day, so my family is actually starving to death. It’s okay though, because I plan to feed them all a little extra on Thanksgiving. I’m hoping this will keep them alive through my next deadline in January.

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?

Actually, I’m a prologue girl. I know, I know...some readers have a love-hate relationship with prologues, but I really like them! I like to give the readers a glimpse into the past—or future—that helps setup the rest of the story.

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

Sadly, I do. In the Body Finder series, I found myself completely identifying with Chelsea, the “say it like it is” best friend of my main character, Violet. Although, I’m 85% sure I’m not as abrasive as Chelsea.

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

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Holy Eternal Hope Release Day!

Okay, so I'm a little early. That happens sometimes, y'know. You're standing on the street thinking, 'do I have time to cross before that Mack truck reaches me? Yeah. Yeah, sure I do.' And then WHAM. That Mack truck was totally closer than it looked. It happens with books too. You intend on releasing them one day and Amazon kindly shifts your dates around. I look upon it as an early gift to readers. Maybe more published authors should submit their works to Amazon's 12-48 hour Russian roulette uploading time. Maybe we'd get treated to some of their work a little early, too! 

Regardless, Eternal Hope is here! I am so excited to share the second instalment in the Hope Series. I have received some truly wonderful support from the first book, and I can not wait to find out what people think of the second story. 

This book has been so much fun to write, and planning the book trailer is like christmas every day. I'm holding my breath in anticipation for November, when we will hopefully be completing a shoot down on the legendary Bondi beach. Watch out for the links!

He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me

When your friends go missing and you don’t know if they’re dead or alive; when you tie your soul to the one you love; when you kill to protect and your family suffers, there’s only one thing you can do:

Move to Montana.

Farley Hope is special. She was prophesied to kill the forebears of her bloodline- a race of cold-blooded Reavers, men who steal the souls of the living to gain power. The Quorum had counted on Farley ending her own life in the process, but when Kayden came to her aid and helped save both her and Daniel, he undid their plans. Now the Quorum are displeased, not only with Kayden, but with Farley and Daniel too. Though her father is now dead, Farley’s troubles with the Reavers are far from over. An ancient Immortal, trapped for a thousand years, wants Farley for himself, and he will stop at nothing to claim her.

With secrets that lead to anger and pain, that turn friendship to dust, the group must overcome the problems within their own circle before they have a hope of fighting off the powers that threaten their lives.