Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween! Time for candy and...less blogging?

Hope all of you that are heading our to trick or treat or party till the wee hours of the morning have a great Halloween. I'll be enjoying it with my toddler who can really only eat lollipops thanks to his allergies, which means Mommy gets all the chocolate. Bad for him, good for me!

I'm also planning on taking a little break from blogging to get my revisions done, prepare for all the great stuff we are doing with, and of course the New Moon chaos. I've really been slacking with my posts and tweets anyway so I figured I better just say I am unplugging for a bit. I thought about participating in NaNo but with my revisions and the holidays approaching I feel its best to to stick what I'm doing and get my query whipped into shape. Something I'm very excited about since I had a great critique from Joanna Stampfel-Volpe thanks to her incredible generosity to critique the first ten queries she received from readers of Lisa & Laura's blog last week. How awesome is she for doing that? So now I'm armed with an agent's feedback on what's working and what needs help in my query. I am one lucky little writer.

I'm still trying to read all the blogs I follow and comment when I can, but I'm really determined to kick some butt and wrap up these hard core revisions in the next few weeks. I'm thinking this is probably good timing since so many of you are doing NaNo which means you won't be blogging as much either. Good luck to all of you who are taking part. I look forward to hearing how it goes since I plan on doing it next year.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If you don't have something nice to say...

...don't say anything at all. Just like Mom taught us, right? I find it rather amusing that my sister commented on my question about how people feel about negative reviews and used this same quote I intended using myself for this post. I'm thinking our mom must rock.

Speaking of that little question, you can check out what other writers/readers feel here in regards to posting and sharing negative reviews about other books. Good stuff, thank you all for taking the time to share those awesome opinions! And it looks like many of us writers share the same philosophy.

So now it's my turn.

While I wish every book was great to everyone who read it, I know that's impossible. Like anything in the world there will be some people who love a story and some that hate it, with every imaginable opinion in between. I have no issue with sharing those opinions. I like to read reviews to find out what people thought of a book before I buy it. My issue is with people who spread that negativity. Why? Why would anyone who loves to read want to intentionally knock someone else's story to the ground and go out of their way to stop people from reading it? I'm not talking about a review shared only on a blog. Especially a book review blog. But I've seen a few instances when they do it there and in other places. Huh? Because like I said earlier, every story will have fans and critics. Surely any book that has made it through a literary agent, an editor or editorS, and countless others, have some good qualities? Shouldn't we focus on both aspects? But like Lizzy said in the comments I hate when I spend money only a book to be disappointed. So I can definitely see why the not so nice opinions need to be shared.

Like a few of the readers who commented on my post Friday I have chosen not to talk about books I don't like and focus on the ones I do. As a writer I want to see my fellow writers succeed. I want people to buy their books. It doesn't mean I think everyone should follow this philosophy or that if you post a negative review you don't support authors. I just think it's important to think things through and know what sort of stance you want to take in the long run because as one commenter said, you never know who you might end up sitting next to a local writers group or conference. (Thank you Roni for providing the example!)

As an aspiring writer there is a lot more to think about when it comes to blogging, posting on forums, tweeting, etc. But equally important are the things we say about other books not only our own blogs but on sites like Amazon or Goodreads. Everything you put it out there is available for authors, agents and editors to see. But that's another post I'm planning...

Anyway, to wrap this up I should say also say something on the flip side of this debate. I don't know about you, but I'm guilty of not sharing my glowing reviews enough. If I'm so into supporting authors, what's my problem? Well, I can tell you I plan on changing that and making much more of an effort to spread the word on stories I fall in love with. As for the ones I don't, I'm keeping my mouth shut. Unless someone asks, of course. Thank you Lisa & Laura for inspiring me to think about this with your awesome Spread the love post!

Friday, October 23, 2009

What's your take on negative reviews?

I started writing a big ol' post on my thoughts on negative reviews as a writer, but I think its better to ask you all before hand what your take is before I share my little rant.


As a writer how do you feel about sharing negative thoughts on other books? Do you post them on your blog? On sites like Amazon and Goodreads? Do you do share those thoughts in multiple places?

This is a free for all, so please share any thoughts you have on the topic. I'm extremely curious to see where you all stand on this one.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Please tell me how I can keep you up all night?

Yes, this is indeed a serious question. I want to know what it takes for a story to make you lose much needed sleep just to finish?

You know the kind I mean.

The sort of book that you can't put down. One that you sit and read during breakfast, one hand holding the book, the other holding a spoon mechanically shoving cereal in your mouth. The kind that you shove in your purse to read during your lunch break. The sort of story that leads you to put a video on for your child to keep him distracted enough that you can sneak in a few more chapters. The kind you don't want to end because you want to linger just a little longer in that world.

So tell me what is it about these sort of books that captures us and won't let us move on with our lives until we finish? Because I want to write like that. I can think of no greater honor than to know that I made someone lose sleep so they could read my story. And what books have you read that did it for you? Because let's face it they aren't all that common. To me they are a precious treat that I can't get enough of. Sure I love many of the books I read, but I'm taking about the few that REALLY hit hard with the suspense.

Here's a few recent ones that have done it for me.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
(and I'm sure Catching Fire once I allow myself to read it)
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning

Monday, October 19, 2009

Memorable characters and getting to know our own

I'm very late with my post on the blog chain this week which is especially bad since I am in charge of posting who starts the chain today and as you can see I'm posting it today. Sorry guys!

Of course I'll take Monday so that I don't throw someone else off.

Last week's topic was started by Icy Roses who asked what made a memorable character and to list a few examples.

For me a memorable character isn't necessarily the good guy I tend to find find the "bad" characters more memorable, not that I like them or relate to them more, they just stick with me in a way that even some of my favorite characters don't. I think I'll go right into those examples since the reasons why I chose them will explain my qualifications a little better.

  • Lord Voldemort. Yep, I said it. Voldemort. I adore Harry and the rest of the "good" gang but Voldemort has always intrigued me. The fourth movie only made this odd fascination worse. That whole cemetery scene is incredible. He is just soooo evil. Yet behind that horrid cold creature you can't help but want to know more about him. The instant he appears on screen or in a scene in the book the mood changes. And it's unnerving the way he lurks on the edges of the story. In my opinion Rowling created one of the best villains of all time with his pure darkness and lust for power at any cost while showing us his broken past and all too human weakness. I hate Voldemort for his cruelty, but I can't look away...

  • Jehrico Barrons. Oddly enough I didn't love the Fever series he's from, but I can't help myself. It may be because a friend lent me her copy of the newest book, Dreamfever, (which is not suitable for anyone under 18 in my opinion!) but he had to be on this list. The number reason is that in all four books (still at least one more out next year) we never learn what he really is. He's the very definition of tall dark and dangerous, he oozes sex, and is powerful beyond belief. All of this good bad guy stuff is magnified by the fact that the rest of the story contains lethal faeries, vampires, etc. yet we have no idea who or what he is and he's far worse then any of them. So unsettling. He does something that seems good only to turn around and does something that appears deceptive and evil.

  • Katniss Everdeen. Most of you have read The Hunger Games so I think you can see why I list her. She has such guts and courage. She is a good girl who proves she is capable of anything. Killing, lying, acting the part. Kat is the ultimate underdog turned hero. One of my favorite scenes is when she is so fed up with the pathetic and cruel way she's treated and shoots the arrow at the judges before the games. Amazing. Oh I wanted to be her right then. I love her for the way she's willing to do whatever it takes to survive and protect the people she loves. And she's more than capable. Girl power! (and shhhh don't say a word to me about Catching Fire - it's my revision completion reward)

Now for this week my topic is character bios. How deep do you dig into your characters when you create them? Have an example you're willing to share or some inspiration photos.

I find photos of their cars, their houses, locations they visit in the story, clothes, and of course what they look like. For some I've made a list of their favorite things, like their fav band, movie, book, etc. Since I'm pressed for time at the moment I'll wrap this up with a picture I threw together late Friday night after I saw a book cover at our Borders event. The second I saw it I knew it was Abbey from my first book, Sage.

For the blog chain here's the list for this week. Again, sorry this is late!

Mon- me. Tues- From Elysium. Wed- Girl With a Notebook. Thur-Flames and Shadows. Fri-Somewhere Nowhere In My Kingdom

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A special day!

Today is October 14th. My son's second birthday! Holy cow where did those two years go? He is such a little person now it's scary. He just told me "go get dressed, Mommy" because he wants to go play with the trains at Barnes & Noble. Or the hysterical way he replies "yeah, of course" when you ask him things like whether he wants more juice. Love it.

I was determined to keep this blog primarily about my writing journey so why am I gushing about my kid turning two you might ask? Well, he has played just about the biggest role of anyone in my writing dream.

For starters he's the reason I walked away from a career I loved (at that time). Never would I have dreamt of attempting to write a novel if I hadn't become a stay at home mom. God bless all you working moms who find time to write! I do work but it's very part time most weeks so I can't really consider myself a "working mom." So if he hadn't swelled up my belly and popped out on October 14th two years ago I would have never been back in my hometown writing my heart out. No doubt I'd still be in another state far away from my family, working crazy hours, oblivious to my real dream.

Then there's the whole motivation thing he provides. The child makes me want to be a better mother - a better human being. I want to succeed not only for myself, but because I want to show him anything is possible. That you really can take big risks and have them pay off. Life is full of possibilities just waiting to be taken. I'm a firm believer that the best way to teach your children how to live a fulfilling and happy life is to do it yourself. Of course I also want with my all my heart to maintain the life we have now. I work a few hours of week so I get to watch him grow and to spend my time the way I choose. I want nothing more than to shift from a writer to an author so that I never have to go back to a typical 9-5. Even then I know it won't be easy but at least I'll be living my dream and for that I'll have my baby boy to thank.

Happy Birthday to my crazy boy!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 Spreading the Hush, Hush love.

I couldn't let October 13, 2009 pass without mentioning the small detail of today being the official release day of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. Not only because I think it's an incredible book that you should all read, but as I've mentioned before my sister and I started, a Hush, Hush fansite.

Yep, we love it that much.

We've got all sorts of great stuff, a forum, a blog (for those of you who have read it you get why it's called The Coldwater High eZine) contests, twitter, even an "Ask Becca" thread on the forum where she'll stop by on Mondays to answer questions. She is just that super cool and down to earth. Just ask Lisa and Laura who posted 13 reasons why they love Hush, Hush!

While it's still insane to think we have an actual fansite, things have REALLY started to get exciting. Especially with the release today! Jenn and I are going to be at our local Borders in Scranton, PA this Friday from 7-10 pm to help promote Hush, Hush with giveaways (bookmarks, posters, a signed copy!) and a reading. Eeek, we even plan on wearing t-shirts with on them. Becca will be in Philly next month so we are working on arranging a time to meet her. In person!!! We've had the pleasure of working with Simon & Schuster here and in the UK. So many amazing things and more in the works.

And let me tell you Becca'a fans are incredible. One of the best parts about starting the site (aside from getting to work with Becca) is meeting the people who love Hush, Hush like we do. We have 119 amazing members who have been already built an awesome community with pics of who they see as Patch and Nora, other books and TV shows the love and more. Then there's Brittany who has been pumping out some killer banners using the teaser lines we posted the last ten days leading up to the release today. I'm telling you, they are just the best fans a girl could ask for. Becca is one lucky lady!

Hopefully if you've read Hush, Hush you will come join the fun and show your love for Becca. And if you haven't read it, you'll go pick a copy up today and come hang out with us when you finish at

So here's a BIG shout out to Becca Fitzpatrick on her very first release day! Thank you for writing one of the best stories I've ever read, and for being so supportive and just plain awesome. I am beyond excited to see what lies ahead. Hmm, Crescendo (the follow up to Hush, Hush) anyone? Heck yeah!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Can too good be bad?

There are countless stories (books, movies, TV shows etc.) that follow this formula:

Good girl falls for the bad boy with a dangerous secret.

For as often as its used it works pretty darn good. I for one am a huge fan of the good girl loves the bad boy thing. I can think of a dozen examples right now. It's a tried and true formula. Just look at some of the books you've read over the course of your life. Sage, my first book that I've recently lost mind and decided to revise, falls right in line with this idea. Which got me to thinking.

Is a girl who's too good a bad thing?

Should I tip the scales on my main characters tendencies and make her a little more naughty? Well, maybe not so naughty, flawed might be a better word. She's already stubborn and independent, but she's still what you'd call a good girl. Maybe she needs to loosen up and sneak out of her bedroom window to meet a boy or skip school a time or two. Because believe me, she's got it in her to do those sort of things.

Then again if the whole good-girl-loves-bad-boy thing has worked for so many, maybe I should stick with what works. Lots to consider.

What about you? How do you feel about the good girl formula? Does your story follow it?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I have to confess...

I did it.

I broke my own rules.

I cheated...

on my new story.

I tried to stay away from Sage, really I did, but like one of those nights when you've had a little (okay, way) too much to drink and run into your ex, well - we hooked up.

I was sitting there all fine and good working on Let the City Burn. Typing away. Then it happened. This overwhelming urge flattened me, and I cracked open my most recent file of Sage. And it felt soooo good. I didn't even think about LTCB once. Is that bad? Do you think it will hate me now and want to break up? Do I want to break up and go back to my ex? Does this mean we're already back to together?

I haven't told LTCB yet, but I swear I will. I may cheat. But I don't lie! I'm not even sure what this means. Oh, but the revisions are good. Really, really good.

Now, if you'll excuse me I need to go do some heavy thinking.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Who would you pick?

If you could present your work to one (or more) specific author (or any celebrity, for that matter) who would it be?

This fabulous blog chain question is courtesy of Kim at Somewhere Nowhere In My Kingdom. And boy oh boy did I have to think about my response. There are soo many authors I respect and admire. Not so much with the celebrities. I could easily list a dozen authors I'd love to talk to and die to have read my work and see what advice they could give me. Scott Westerfeld, Becca Fitzpatrick, J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Eckhart Tolle, James Patterson... But, I'm going with one.

Suzanne Collins.

In case you aren't familiar with her name. She's the author of one of the most incredible books, The Hunger Games. If you're a fan then you might wonder why I'm not mentioning Catching Fire. This is because I *GASP* haven't read it yet. Yep, I'm saving it as a reward and incentive for when I finish my current WIP. (which I may take way longer than planned, but that's a different story) Crazy, I know, but I know that I won't get a thing done once I start that book!

Much like her style I'll keep this short and to the point. The reason I chose Ms. Collins, is because in my opinion she has created one of the most heart-stopping-keep-you-on-the-edge-of-the-seat-stories I've ever had the pleasure of reading. And she wrote it in first person present tense. Not an easy thing to pull off, but she does it so effectively that you feel like you literally are Katniss at times. I want to know how she does it. I want to learn how to write even half as well as she does... *sigh*

What about you?

Stop by Somewhere Nowhere In My Kingdom, Girl With a Notebook, Flames and Shadows, and From Elysium to see who they'd like to share their work with.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Finding time to write. How do you do it?

For some reason I've struggled way more with my writing time with the new story. I thought it would get better with summer ending with it getting darker earlier, the pool getting covered, my child heading to bed earlier (hopefully). Sadly, this has not been the case. It seems like there is always something going on. Ugh. I don't want to push people away and become a recluse or force my child to go to bed way early just so I can write, but some days it's a little tempting...

So I'm curious, how do you handle it? Do you always write at a certain time? How do you make time to write when life gets hectic? Do you set a timeline to finish?

Monday, October 5, 2009

First novels die hard

I'm not sure if my brain is playing tricks me in order to further distract me from my current WIP, but it appears that it has some killer ideas on revising my first novel, Sage. Uh, when did this happen? Better yet, why? Why am I thinking about a story I shelved in order to move on to something that has a better chance of succeeding?

For a split second I actually considered halting my new story to go back to the old one. WTF? I quickly got my head together and realized this is not a good idea. Not yet. The revisions I have planned (which I made sure to write down for later) are massive. We're talking changing my MC's age, where she lives, a huge portion of the setting. Major changes. And even though I think, no scratch that, I know, these changes will fix what has ailed the story, I need to sit on it.

I'm half way done with Let the City Burn and it's going fantastic. Why mess with that? Why set myself back in my demanding timeline? These are the sort of questions I'm asking myself and the answers are pretty clear. They all end up leading to the same decision. Finish Let the City Burn. Sage can wait. But, can it? Because those characters have been paying me frequent visits lately, making me miss them, making me want to spend some time with them.

Like the ex boyfriend you know you should forget but are still hung up on even though you have a really great new boyfriend. I tell myself things like, "oh give the new book more time, you just need to get to know those characters better" or "you spent the last year of your life with them so of course you miss them." Then I hear one of our songs (from my writing playlist) and I think about them and end up eating a container of triple fudge brownie ice cream and watching sappy movies to make me cry. OK, not really but you get the idea.

Anyone else been wooed by an old story with ideas of improvement? Did you resist or give in and cheat on your new WIP? I'm determined to at least finish the first draft of LTCB before I get all crazy and run off with Sage again. So if you see us off in a dark corner together slap me before I get myself in trouble!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Anyone live in the UK or know someone that does?

Simon & Schuster UK has been incredible enough to provide ten copies of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick to our fansite to give away to UK readers. If you're from the UK or know someone that is you can check out the details here. All you have to do is post the contest badge on your site, blog, or other social networking sites to be eligible. How easy is that? Winners will even be chosen BEFORE the book hits stores!