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Showing posts from October, 2011

Why I Love to Write Thrillers

Happy Halloween!
When I finished TRANSCEND, my YA psychological thriller, I accomplished more than finishing another novel - I found one of my favorite genres to write.

Psychological thrillers

I guess it is no surprise that I like to write stories with a strong psychological theme - stories that make you question the functioning of your own mind. But I didn't realize how much I enjoyed writing thrillers. I love leading the reader down an unreliable path - making them follow a particular lead only to find out their assumptions were wrong in the end. I love the suspense and drama involved in a good psychological thriller. And I really love crafting a believable, yet unreliable, narrator.

But what makes a good psychological thriller?

Suspense. A twist you don't see coming but makes total sense in the end. Strong emotions. Authentic characters.An interesting plot

All of these are important elements I tried to create in TRANSCEND. I spent a lot of the revision process honing in to …

How do you prepare for NaNo?

So, here we are, three short days from the start of NaNoWriMo and I am wondering what else I should be doing to get ready? But before you rush in and answer that, let me tell you what I HAVE done to date, and what I am doing over the weekend to prepare:


Outlined the book - now before you get pictures of some massive document in your head, let me reel you in! My outlines are bullet points of the plot points, the characters, what happens per chapter/scene, approximate page count for each point point, any specific style elements (tense, POV, etc) Yea, that's it.


Blogging for the MONTH. On both blogs - Yes, I will check them over the night before, but I know from experience this is really going to help mePrep all November events - I have TONS of events this month! Having them prepared ahead of time will help keep me organizedClean out emailWarn the family!!! THINGS I CAN'T PREPARE FOR: Illness - though we are trying to keep everyone healthyWork fiasco …

Bookanista Books I am DYING To Read!

Time for another fabulous Bookanista Thursday! Before I get to the reviews and whatnot, I wanted to share a little news of my own. Last year I submitted a story for the DEAR BULLY anthology. Although my story was not included in the book, Harper Collins DID include it on the website as part of their weekly essays.
So go on over to DEAR BULLY to read my story, FINDING ME.

And now, the other great Bookanista reviews:
Elana Johnson reveals something made of AWESOME!Lisa and Laura Roecker announces a winner plus a PAST MIDNIGHT series giveawayShannon Messenger interviews SKYSHIP ACADEMY - PEARL WARS author Nick James and agent Jennifer Rofe - with a giveawayBeth Revis interviews MY VERY UNFAIRYTALE LIFE author Anna StaniszewskiJessi Kirby twirls for AUDITIONShana Silver burns for CIRCLE OF FIRECarrie Harris devours DEADLYStasia Ward Kehoe travels to THE DAY BEFORE On to my Bookanista Shout out for BOOKS I AM DYING TO READ....

Our Bookanista's have been busy - really really busy - writing…

WHOA! What happened to October???? (or, Man, I meant to finish that draft this month. Shoot!)

Happy Weds! Well, here we are...a mere few days from NaNo and NO! I have NOT finished drafting COLLIDE. Darn it all! I really wanted to have that done by the end of October. But, since I am only about 35% of the way through it (oh, and it IS a train wreck) it isn't going to happen.
But, never fear, I am going to finish it in December after NaNo. The truth is, I LOVE the story, so I must finish it.
On Friday I am going to talk about my NaNo plans. I am super excited for that story too.
So, to recap my plans for the end of the year:

Finish COLLIDEWrite NaNo novel - BEAUTIFUL MALICERevising sekrit project. Hoping to have deets by the end of the yearYea, another sekrit project I am hoping to be able to talk about more by the end of the year. As you can tell, I am really trying to finish strong! And I have about 12 events over the next few months too (you can check out the events page for info)! WHEW!!!
What are you plans through the end of the year???

Spooktacular Giveaway

HAPPY ALMOST HALLOWEEN!!! I am so excited for today. From today through 10/31 I am participating in the blog giveaway hop sponsored by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and The Diary of a Bookworm. With nearly 400 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 creeptastic reads - 

POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil THE FOX INHERITANCE by Mary E. Pearson
Not sure about these books? Check out the trailers:

POSSESS Trailer -


Told ya they are fantastic!!!

Entering is easy. Just follow my blog in some way and leave a comment! Easy Peasy!!! Contest ends 10/31 as is open to the US only.

Oh! And for my fav recent find, 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???

Wherein I talk about angst and diversions....

Happy Friday! Last week was lovingly known as my week of rejections. This week - it's the week of crickets. To be honest, I am not really certain which one is harder to deal with. This week, at least, I had some amazing diversions to keep my angst under control.

First, work has been INSANE! Not fun - but it IS a diversion.
Second, Elana came for a visit. We didn't get a chance to connect until Weds, but man oh man did we have fun!

Weds was the 2-school-visits-and-a-book-signing day. Here are the pics (and yes, I got to hang with her, Jessi Kirby and Corey Whaley ALL DAY! - it was EPIC fun!)

We started the day at a Middle School, then went to a HS. My kids got to meet and talk with them - Highlight of their week!

Then we went to lunch at one of our local FABULOUS vineyards. For those who don't know this, Temecula is sort of the Napa Valley of Southern California

Then it was on to a book signing in San Diego.

On Thursday, I had to work.
But I did make it down to my fav BN i…

Sara Zarr's How To Save A Life

Time for another fabulous Bookanista Thursday! Today I'm hanging out with a bunch of authors in Southern California - including two of my BFFs - to say I am PSYCHED is an understatement. Expect a tn of pictures tomorrow! But for today, check out these fabulous Bookanista reviews:
Lisa and Laura Roeckerhosts The White Assassin blog tour stop – with giveawayShelli Johannes-Wellsdelves into DitchedJessi Kirbytwirls for AuditionShana Silvershivers for Shatter MeVeronica Rossiis ensnared by Girl of Fire and ThornsStasia Ward Kehoeapplauds Virtuosity On to my Bookanista Shout out for Sara Zarr's HOW TO SAVE A LIFE

Release Date: October 18, 2011

Basic Blurb: (from Amazon)
Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she's somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new…

It's a matter of voice...

Writing a great story is more than simply putting words on paper in an interesting way. It involves the creation of characters that are three-dimensional. Characters that stay with you long after the story is finished. Through the eyes of these characters, the reader is transported in another life or another world. But creating these types of characters can be a real challenge. Yesterday, a friend and I were talking about just this - in fact, she is the reason I am posting today. You see, I am really into building authentic characters with authentic points of view and voice. I do this using a technique I adapted from transformation psychology -  Voice Dialogue. Developed by Hal and Sidra Stone, voice dialogue is a way of "getting in touch" with the many aspects of personality that lie within the self. In therapy, it is a way of putting to voice the dysfunctional aspects of self. Even some spiritual practices have incorporated similar techniques as a way of putting a voice those …

Wherein I Talk about Music and Inspiration

Most of you guys know that I can't write without music. But not just any music - movie soundtrack music. One of my non-writerly friends calls it my "intense" music. She always knows when I am working on a project as I only listen to specific movie soundtrack music - stuff that keeps me in my story, even when I am working or doing things unrelated to writing it. For me, doing this enables me to write the story in my head.
So, as I continue to draft my current novel, COLLIDE, I have, of course, sourced new soundtrack music that fits this story and keeps me mentally writing.

The story itself is a YA paranormal thriller. And the music I've chosen is from INCEPTION and X-MEN: FIRST CLASS. Here are a couple of snippets of the music (I am not ready to talk about the novel too much yet.)

From Inception:

From X-Men:First Class:

So, what do you guys do for inspiration????


I am so excited to be part of the Pay it Forward blogfest today. Brainchild of Matt (theqqqe blog) and Alex (Alex J Cavanaugh blog) this blogfest is a chance to find new, under appreciated blogs. Each of us was supposed to highlight three blogs we LOVE - preferably, unknown or newly discovered blogs. SWEET! I can't wait to hop around and find new places to hang out :D

For my three, I thought I'd bring three blogs I have followed for a while - ones I don't talk about often, but ones I really love reading every week:

Laura Diamond at Diamond - Lucid Dreamer. Laura always has fabulous posts about her day job (psychologist) and writing, her journey in publication and her feelings about writing. She inspires and puts into words so much of the feelings about writing. GREAT JOB LauraJen Merrill  at Laughing at Chaos. Jen predominately blogs about being the parent of gifted and 2E kids. But, I KNOW she as writing aspirations (and yes, I keep pushing her in that direction). She is …

A Bookanista Booyah for WITCH EYES

Happy Thursday. I'm excited to bring you another fabulous Bookanista debut today - Scott Tracey's WITCH EYES. But before I get to that, I need to give a quick shout out to Bookanista Stasia Ward Kehoe, whose book AUDITION is officially out TODAY! I am so excited for everyone to read it and see how amazing it is!
And now, here are the other great Bookanista reviews:
Elana Johnson offers a preview of upcoming awesomeLisa and Laura Roecker dances for AUDITION with a giveawayShelli Johannes-Wells is psyched for some upcoming book launchesCarolina Valdez Miller steps up to AUDITION with a giveawayBeth Revis features a guest post by DARKFALL author Janice HardyShana Silver contemplates THE FUTURE OF USCarrie Harris is dazzled by Don't Stop NowCorrine Jackson celebrates the success of EPIC FAIL On to my Bookanista Shout out for Scott Tracey's WITCH EYES

Release Date: September 8, 2011

Basic Blurb: (from Amazon)
A boy who can see the world's secrets and unravel spells with just…

Surviving the Query Process and a sneak peek at TRANSCEND

So, I've been officially querying for a month now. It really hasn't been too bad - just the normal send and wait. Send and wait. I've had requests and rejections. Gotten excited and freaked. All normal for this stage of the game.

I'm not new to this game. But, man, I DID forget how crazy it sort of makes me. And since I gave up chocolate, sugar, and alcohol, my usual treatments for the angst are out!

So, I'm finally taking my own advice and staying uber busy writing. I have two projects in the hopper at the moment - one I have outlined for NaNo, and one I am drafting right now in the hopes of finishing it by October 31. I know, CRAZY - but I am certainly giving it my best attempt (I just broke through the 10K mark!). I have progress meters on my left sidebar - so feel free to cheer me on, or kick me in the rear if I'm stalling on my progress. I can't share too much about either project just yet - suffice it to say I am sticking to the psych. thriller genre…

Kick A** Debut Author spotlight - POSSESS

Hey everyone! Happy Monday. I am so excited to be part of some serious love floating across the blogosphere today. You see, Christina Lee and others came up with a fabulous way to show those authors who debuted this year some love - an epic love-fest celebrating some amazing books. 

When she asked me whose debut I wanted to celebrate, I was torn - I mean really...there are SO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM. What a fabulous thing to say - so many fabulous debuts. I really think this is the up-side to the industry's recent difficulties - we are seeing amazing books on the shelves.

Anyways, I decided to focus on one particular book that hasn't gotten near enough press in my mind, despite some amazing reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and across the web.


Yes, I featured this one as a BOOKANISTA review not too long ago. But really, I could go on and on about my love for this book. Why, you ask?


Really. There are so many books I love, but the concepts aren't new. Sure t…

Birthday Blog Chain and a CONTEST!

It's Blog Chain time again, and this time the topic comes from Sarah Bromley, who asked the following:

Do you work with critique partners? How did you find your crit pals, and what influence have they had on your work?
OOhh....I LOVE this question. Having just finished TRANSCEND and whatnot, the timing for it is perfect.

My very first CP was Elana Johnson. She and I met on the QT forum, where I had posted my first query letter for my gosh awful novel. Elana reached out to me to not only help with that letter, but just offer help in general. In a moment of audacious bravery, I asked if she would like to read my first novel and give me her opinion. She did something better - she asked if I wanted to join her in a crit group. Um...DUH! Of course I want to join her. That was more than two years ago and we have read for each other ever since.

Elana has been my best teacher in the art of writing. She has guided me to look at my writing in different ways. She is a tough and sometimes brut…

Showing Some Love For AUDITION!

Time for another fabulous Bookanista Thursday! I'm so excited to talk about fellow Bookanista's book AUDITION, but before I get to that - 

A quick moment to mourn the loss of a true visionary - Steve Jobs. One of the best quotes from him:
"Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."BRILLIANT!

On to the great Bookanista reviews this week:
Elana Johnson is obsessed with POSSESSShelli Johannes-Wells applauds THE PLEDGEShannon Messenger is wowed by THE WHITE ASSASSIN + a giveawayCarolina Valdez Miller delves into THE FUTURE OF US  - with a signed book giveawayBeth Revis interviews THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS author Rae CarsonShana Silver shouts out about SHUT OUTSarah Frances Hardy fancies YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND And my Bookanista Shout-out for our very own Stasia Ward Kehoe and AUDITION

Release Date: October 13, 2011

Basic Blurb: (from Amazon)
When high school junior Sara wins a coveted scho…

The anatomy of a short synopsis

So...I spent Monday writing a synopsis. I used to love them. But, I am out of practice. So I went through all of my previous synopses and notes on writing them and ventured back into the land of few words. 
And then I wrote this post, just so I would remember how to do this next time.
See, for me, writing a synopsis can seem a daunting task - more so now that editors and agents are asking for shorter and shorter ones. I mean, just how do you take your 70K novel and shrink it into something around 500 words?
It starts with taking a close look at your story arc and your tag line. Yep, that’s right – you need to know your plot!
For me, I find it easiest to use a similar plot structure to our friends in screenwriting. By boiling your story down to 5 or 6 stages, with transitions, you will be able to not only write a concise synopsis, but see any plot holes as well.
Here are the typical stages and transitions I use when developing a story. The labels are called different things, maybe - but the…

October Happenings...

I can't believe it's October already. With the start of the month, comes the start of my 2 mos version of NaNo - trying to write TWO novels over the next TWO months. Yes, I am insane, I know. But I am tackling this and seeing what I can do.

In preparation for this week, I spent last week doing some plotting on both stories - I figured out the major plot pieces, characters, and even most of the scenes. And I started some writing. I didn't quite reach my goals, but I did get close.

I have decided to post my daily goals and actual progress on my side bar (goal/actual) - just to keep me on track. And I have also decided to schedule my blogging in a slightly different way. I will still be posting on M, W, Th, and F - but with the following features:

Mon - Writing craft or other relevant topicsWeds - YAtopia's I LOVE DARK YA blogfest (for Nov.) - otherwise WIP updatesThurs - BookanistaFri - Just like Monday. The schedule will get a little mixed up with Blog Chain posts, etc.…