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Showing posts from August, 2011

Back to the Books Giveaway Hop of EPICNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


HAPPY SEPTEMBER!!! I am so excited for today. From today through 9/7 I am participating in the blog giveaway hop sponsored by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Buried In Books. With over 300 blogs participating, there are literally TONS of books and bookish things being given away.

For this giveaway, I thought I'd give away some copies of my favorite reads. But man, there are too many fabulous books I've read in the last year. So, I picked three of my fav older reads from earlier this year -
Anna And The French Kiss The Liar Society Nightshade 
Entering is easy. Just follow my blog in some way and leave a comment! Easy Peasy!!! Contest ends 9/7 as is open to the US only.

Oh! And for some fab NF books for kids, check out my giveaway on my other blog, An Intense Life.

For more giveaway fun, check out the other blogs participating , click over to the I'm a Reader Not a Writer blog and go crazy!

Way to have some fun...Yes???

And the winner is...

Wow, is it Wednesday already??? This week has been beyond insane. So, instead of a fab post...I am just gonna let you all know who won the fabulous CIRCLE OF FIRE contest from last week....
Congrats to: MIRANDA DAVENPORT!!!!
I hope you enjoy the book and fab swag. I'm certain you will.

And, be sure to stop by tomorrow for an amazing Back to Books Giveaway Blog-hop. I will be giving away THREE of my favorite summer reads. Trust me, this is not to be missed!!!
How are things going for you???

Wherein I spill my secrets...YIKES!

Hi there! Last week, my good friend Rebecca Knight tagged me and asked me to spill my darkest secrets - or at least 10 random facts.

So, even though I think I am boring times a million, here you go - random facts or secrets that promises to be TMI

I obsess No really, I do. I obsess about my house, my job, the friend that seems mad but maybe isn't, the manuscript that is sorta good but maybe not good enough. It's exhaustingI once when shark diving. Coolest thing EV.ERAs much as a can talk a good game - I am pretty chicken when it comes to extreme adrenaline activities. So, I may say I really want to try spelunking (and I do) - but I am way too scared to actually do it.I had a dream of competing in a triathlon once. I finally had to come to terms with the fact that it will never happen - especially since I hate running now that my knees are just...old!I'm old. No really....compared to my writerly friends, I'm pretty certain I am the oldest!I have …

BLOG CHAIN: True Confessions About My Career

It's Blog Chain time again! But before we get to the topic, I want to say a huge WELCOME to our newest blog chain members:

KatrinaAmparoJonMattTerePKSuch an amazing group of people! Today's topic comes from Sandra who asked the following:

Have the recent changes in the publishing industry affected your writing plans/career? If so, how?
Looks like it's time for a reality check. I am excited about the changes in the industry - I think any opportunity to bring great content to more readers is a great thing. I own an iPad and love reading on it. I love the ideas of enhanced ebooks, etc, etc...
Anything to get readers excited about reading.

All of that said, the changes are freaking me out a bit. So many people are e-publishing, so many are asking me if I plan on doing the same. And every time, I am unsure how to answer.

In truth, I respect my friends that have made the decision to self-publish. It takes a lot of courage and dedication to pursue that dream. And while I am sure I c…

What's YOUR Best Writing Advice?

Last Thursday, I posted a little tribute to WriteOnCon and shared my fav writing advice. In response to some nice feedback on that post, I thought I'd turn the tables on all of you and ask:

What is your fav writerly advice?
Leave your best advice in the comments below - but keep in short, one sentence.

Here's mine:

Strive for authenticity when writing - with your voice, your emotions and your actions.  The rest will take care of itself. (Ha - exactly 20 words!)
Your turn - what's your fav advice?

Oh! And I just joined Rachel Harrie's Writer's Platform-Building Campaign. WOO HOO!!!

A Bookanista Interview With The Amazing Michelle Zink (and a giveaway)

I'm so excited for today. I have known Michelle Zink online since her first book, PROPHESY OF THE SISTERS, was released. I've always been impressed with her demeanor online and her amazing personality. Let me tell you, the more I get to know her, the more amazing I find her to be. More than once I have told myself that she is exactly the kind of author I want to be when I become more well known.

Before I get to my interview with Michelle, and the AMAZING GIVEAWAY, let's see what my other Bookanista buddies are up to:

Elana Johnson revels in WRITE YOUR BOOK NOW
Lisa and Laura Roecker is gaga for IMAGINARY GIRLS
Shannon Messenger catches THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE with a giveaway
Megan Miranda is transfixed by BETWEEN
Shana Silver delves into THE UNBECOMING OF MYRA DYER
Corrine Jackson celebrates her "Blogiversary" with YA Authors sharing Lessons Learned
Stasia Ward Kehoe falls for the cover of THE FOX INHERITANCE

On to my Bookanista Interview with MICHELLE ZINK in celebration of…

Digging for the Emotional Truth in Your Stories

As most of you know, I am a school psychologist by trade. So, it's no wonder that I am really into the emotional aspects and depth of a story. I love it when I can feel what the characters are feeling. If they cry, I want my eyes to water a bit. If they are angry, I want to feel my own anger rising. I want to have a visceral reaction to the story and the characters.

But how do I, or any writer for that matter, create that emotional depth - the emotional hook?

I believe that emotional depth is one of the many layers needed in a story. For me, it is part of the original draft, and something that is added in and refined during the revision process.

Being a psychologist, I have spent the better part of my adult life studying human emotion and behavior.  The same techniques I use in my professional life - observations of people, being very in tune with my own visceral reactions to things, a clear understanding of why people react the way they do - has enabled me to add an emotional bac…

Birthdays (again) and good news

Today it's time to celebrate ANOTHER birthday! My youngest celebrates her 11th birthday today. Over the weekend we hosted a fabulous sleepover with her friends, filled with swimming, dancing, and cupcakes. It was truly epic.

But that is not the only thing we celebrated over the weekend. After much angst, procrastination and threats of either throwing my laptop out the window or deleting my manuscript, I finished a particularly difficult pass of revisions on my current project, TRANSCEND.

TRANSCEND is a YA Gothic thriller, filled with romance and classic horror elements. I love the story, even though it is kicking me in the rear at the moment.

I still have another difficult pass to finish, but for now...I am just happy I finally got this pass COMPLETED!

What are you guys celebrating or working on?

Multi-Tasking and Writing - A Bad Combo for Me

As most of you know, I wear many hats - writer, psychologist, mother, wife, Band Booster, Team mom, etc, etc, etc. Some of you have asked me, given how I must obviously multi-task in my life in order to handle all of those roles, do I multi-task when it comes to writing? Do I juggle multiple projects at the same time?
The short answer to this...

In my regular life, I am a major multi-tasker.  I learned how to multi-task as a buyer.  I mean, when you need to juggle multi-million dollar buys, with merchandising, marketing and still meet a personal sales quota weekly - you had better get good at doing many things at once.  When I switched careers and started practicing school psychology, I found that my skills at multi-tasking enabled me to do a lot more in that setting as well.  I am able to coordinate projects, keep track of multiple cases, conduct professional training throughout the district and county, and handle both my counseling and assessment caseloads with eas…

Bookanista Love for Write On Con (and some great writing advice)

HAPPY THURSDAY everyone! In honor of Write On Con, and the fab Bookanistas - Elana JohnsonLisa and Laura RoeckerJamie Harrington,  and Shannon Messenger - involved, several of us have decided to show a little love for WOC by posting our own writerly advice. Check out Beth RevisJessi KirbyStasia Ward Kehoe, and my post below for some fun advice, peptalks, and writerly insight.

And, I know you MUST have your regular Bookanista reviews, so...
here you go:

Carolina Valdez Miller and Shelli Johannes-Wells are passionate about POSSESS
Bethany Wiggins howls over HOW TO TAKE THE EX OUT OF EX-BOYFRIEND
Scott Tracey is awed by ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD
Gretchen McNeil is spellbound by WITCH EYES
Shana Silver serves up a Maureen Johnson double feature of THE LAST LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPE and THE NAME OF THE STAR
Carrie Harris is in a frenzy over STUPID FAST
Matt Blackstone blog From Bedside
Veronica Rossi loves LEGEND

And now - some of the best advice I've ever gotten about writing:

Read, read, and r…

On the Romantic Side!

"Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things." - Denis DiderotI blogged last week about writing dark stories. Now, just because I write dark stories, does not mean I leave out the romance! In fact - I love a little romance. Not only the more typical things we think of, but in the broader since of relationships characterized by passionate or intense bonds.

I write YA, and YA characters are pretty intense by nature. Attraction between the characters usually has an almost obsessive quality to it.  And while my characters don't cross the "sex" line in the physical nature of their relationships, there is a strong physical element - the first kiss, the nature of their touch, the mental aspect of their physical attraction - all of this is woven throughout their intimate scenes.

Conflict is a necessary part of fiction.  And my romantic scenes always have a conflict element to them. Betrayal, denial, torment - all of these are enhanced when there i…

Keeping it Fresh

Writing is hard. You get a great story down on paper. Polish it up. And then it's time to write another. And maybe another. Etc. Etc.

But how do you keep the stories new? How do you avoid writing the same story over and over again? Or writing stories similar to every other story out there?

I think this is one of the hardest things about writing - coming up with new ideas that aren't simply reinventions of your last story.

I think all of us tend to stick to certain themes that reappear in several of our stories. And I think we're heavily influenced not only by the books we read and critique, the movies we watch and the lyrics we listen too.  All of it has the potential of influencing our story ideas, shaping our word choices and impacting our writing.

So how, then, do we not only make sure our ideas are fresh, but also not bordering on plagiarism?

For me it comes down to authenticity  - authenticity of voice and authenticity of story. 

Stories are fresh and unique when we s…


My girl's love supporting writers. So, when I told them my friend Gretchen McNeil needed a little help sharing the love for her upcoming release POSSESS, they HAD to help.

Just look -

Opening Line Fun Results

As promised, here are the opening line titles and authors:
"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." - George Orwell, 1984"Mother died today." - Albert Camus, The Stranger"There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it." - CS Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"It was a pleasure to burn." - Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451"There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife." - Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard BookOh! And the bonus - well that one was mine, from my current project, Transcend. I hope everyone enjoyed playing! The winner of this fun little contest is:

Congrats and thanks to everyone who has participated. What is YOUR fav opening line?

Opening Lines and a contest!

Time for a little fun today. We always hear that opening lines are important. So, I thought we should have a little opening line contest. Here are a few opening lines from some classic books - do you recognize them?

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." "Mother died today.""There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.""It was a pleasure to burn.""There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife."And one more just for fun -  "There are so many things I could’ve remembered about that night."And now, the fun part...leave a comment listing the names or authors of as many of the quotes as you can. I will randomly draw a name on Friday and award a prize. What prize you ask? How about a copy of Blood Red Road, yes? YES!
So leave a comment, see how many of the opening lines you can guess and you could win!

Exploring Darkness In Your Writing

It is no secret that I tend to write dark, exploring the more base aspects of humanity. I think it's the part of me that once wanted to be a profiler. Or maybe it's just the psych in me. Whatever it is, I am not one to shy away from the shadow.

Going dark can be hard for some people - forcing them to confront the shadow that exists within. For me, exploring our shadow selves is an important aspect of the journey of the self. Not because of some morbid curiosity about madness and other scary things, but because it is the exploration of darkness that enables me to truly understand the light.

I know - deep.

I write classic horror and psychological thrillers. In these projects I have explored the depths of evil as I search for understanding regarding our responsibilities in the face of such darkness. I've also explored the paralyzing impact of fear on the human psyche, and the nature - and cost - of redemption. My most recent project looks at the transformation that occurs as …

Monday Musings - Getting through the month

Okay, I'll admit it - this month is CRAZY BUSY! I spent Sunday updating my calendar for the next few weeks and all I can say is HOLY COW - I literally do not have one unscheduled day between now and Labor Day Weekend.

On  the one side, the time will go quickly. On the other side, I will have little time to breath.
I sort of knew this was coming - it was the reason for last Friday's post about balance. But, man...seeing it in writing was crazy intense.
So, what does this have to do with this post? I think I am going to streamline my blogging schedule a bit. I will blog three days a week on my Gifted Blog. I think I am going to adapt the same thing here, on this blog. So, starting next week until whenever, I am going to be blogging 3 days a week - M, W, F. I will continue to do Bookanista posts when I have a review to post. And yea, that's it. Of course, if I am part of a blog tour or something else, things may change. 

A question for you...

Happy Friday everyone. I finished my first week back at school and didn't die. GO ME! But, I did get very clear on just how hard it is going to be to get everything finished that I need to get done. Between the day job, being a mom and wife, and the writing (you know, writing time, blogging, social networking....) I am not certain how everything is going to get done.

So, I have a question for you -

How do you guys balance writing, blogging, social networking and everything else you may have going on? I'm looking for ideas...


A SCARY SCENE IN A SCARY MOVIE - My kind of story!

HAPPY THURSDAY everyone! I hope you are all enjoying a fab summer with lots of fab books! I'm back at work, but I am still reading, reading, reading! And so are the other Bookanistas - just check out the list:
Elana Johnson and Scott Tracey find wonder in THE NEAR WITCH
Lisa and Laura Roecker are wild about WHERE SHE WENT
Corrine Jackson delights in THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER
Veronica Rossi is wild about WILDEFIRE
Stasia Ward Kehoe marvels at MY LIFE, THE THEATER, & OTHER TRAGEDIES

Now, on to my Bookanista Shout out for A SCARY SCENE IN A SCARY MOVIE by Bookanisto Matt Blackstone

Release Date: July 5, 2011

Basic Blurb: (from Amazon)
Rene, an obsessive-compulsive fourteen year old, smells his hands and wears a Batman cape when he’s nervous. If he picks up a face-down coin, moves a muscle when the time adds up to thirteen (7:42 is bad luck because 7 + 4 + 2 = 13), or washes his body parts in the wrong order, Rene or someone close to him will break a bone, contract a deadly virus, and/o…

Getting to know the Fabulous Christina Farley

I love getting to know different authors. And it's even more fun when the particular writer I am interviewing gets some fabulous signing with her dream agent! This is exactly what happened when Christina Farley and I spoke about interviewing her for my blog. In the midst of getting the interview finished she signed with an agent. How amazing is that?!? You can read about the agent-signing here.  And now - I bring you the fabulous Christina Farley: {{And how cool is it that we have the same initials...LOL!}} CF: Why did you begin writing?  cf: I had this crazy idea to start working on my bucket list. Writing a book was in it so I wrote this awful first book. I knew I had a lot to learn, but I was hooked! CF: Tell me a little about your personal writing process? 
cf:I write first drafts very fast. I’m good at buckling down and getting it written. It’s the revision aspect that I’m just starting to get a handle on. And really that’s what sets apart the okay books from the great …

Tuesday Thoughts

I just love this quote - so I thought I'd share:

If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it.Anais Nin

What do you think?