Showing posts from January, 2013

Overcoming Writer's Block

It happens to all of us, that brick wall that keeps us from the next scene or chapter or even word in our manuscript. Here are some things that help me when I'm standing in front of that brick wall .

1. Lift your fingers off the keyboard and walk away. I've heard people say "write through it," and it just doesn't work for me. I tell my piano students that when their brain hurts and sort of shuts down during a practice session, to play for 5-10 more minutes and then walk away. The next time they sit down, they will have improved. I think the same works for writing. When it just gets too tough, giving it 5-10 minutes could be beneficial for improving your writing skills, but anymore than that and you will not only be writing crap, but you will lose confidence, or worse, grow to hate what you used to love.

2. Do something other than writing for a while. Go for a walk. Ride a bike. Watch your favorite TV show. Read a book that you want to read. Go to the gym. Play wi…

Book Club Book Review

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Vices: A little too much adult content for me, including repeated use of the "f-bomb" which annoyed me since I don't actually own the book and couldn't use a magic marker to scribble it out and jot in my favorite substitutes.

Virtues: The writing is gorgeous. Gorgeous AND flawless. The story has a solid hook (the mysterious brother who doesn't show up on New Years Eve. Who does that?) The main character is likable and witty, the kind of girl you'd like to count as a friend. And the descriptions of New York made me feel not only as if I had been there before, but as if I had spent several years there. I had a hard time putting the book down, but had fun reading it slowly, savoring all that pretty language. Here are some of my favorite passages:

Of sleeping: "It's a purposeful irony of life, I suppose, that we never get to see ourselves in that state. We can only pay witness to our waking reflection, which to one degree…

Blue Sky Cover Reveal


It's lovely, don't you think? And vague. It could be about anything. But it's significant when you get into those pages and learn more about Sunny and Lewis. Thanks to the lovely and talented T. Parmelee for the cover photography and design. I know such awesomely gifted people.

So You Want to Write a Novel Part 4

This step is a pain. Yes, a pain. Now that you've put all that work into "bleeding onto the page," you're going to have to stitch it up.

Now, I haven't said the actual word yet, because I want to prepare you. Are you ready? No? Okay, I'll give you a hint. It starts with an "e." No, it's not elephant or espionage or estrogen. (Those are actually the first three "e" words that came to my mind. Sorry.) Once you've typed "the end," you are going to have to go all the way back to the beginning and--don't hate me--EDIT.

There, I said it. Edit. That is the next step. And if it's your first novel, it may need sixty-five edits before it's really ready. (Trust me, I know this by experience.) As the saying goes, (or is it a Steven King quote? Google is proving very unhelpful on this) "The first million words are practice." And yes, journals, poems from the third grade, and notes you passed in junior high all co…

Meet Karey White

After interviewing Karey I think we must be long lost sisters or something. Read on.

Hello. Thanks for being a guest on my blog today. Can I offer you a virtual cookie? 
I rarely turn down a cookie. As long as it doesn't have raisins. Not really a raisin-in-baked-goods kinda girl.
Don't worry, no raisins in my cookies. Ever. Here, have this chocolate chip cookie of awesomeness. I'll pour you some milk. Pretend for a moment that your books are your children. Please introduce us. We’d like names, ages, quirks, birth stories, any details you would like to share. 
Wow. Fun question. We'll call Gifted Inez and For What It's Worth Olivia. Those names have nothing at all to do with the books, but they're both names I liked but my husband refused to consider when we had our children, so I'll use them here. 
Inez is the perfect child that you never have to worry about. She cleans her room, she does her homework, she doesn't smart off at all. But then you realize that…

So You Want to Write a Novel Part 3

This post will be short. Because the next step in writing a novel is simple. Just keep writing.

It may take a few weeks, a few months, or even a few years to get that competed manuscript. But JUST KEEP WRITING. If you have never heard of NANOWRIMO, check it out. It could be the push you need. Set goals, but don't quit if you get off track. Just keep writing. Just keep writing. Just keep writing.

Meet Shannen Crane Camp

I had the awesome opportunity to interview Shannen Crane Camp. She's stylish and geeky at the same time, what's not to love?

Hello. Thanks for being a guest on my blog today. Can I offer you a virtual cookie?

Why thank you Melissa! I'm actually surrounded by a million nieces and nephews right now so they might get jealous of my virtual cookie... unless of course you brought enough for all 11 of them?

Wow, that is a lot of nieces and nephews. Let's just skip to the interview. Pretend for a moment that your books are your children. Please introduce us. We’d like names, ages, quirks, birth stories, any details you would like to share.

 Well my first is "Robin's Flight". She (because all of my book children are girls) is slightly clumsy and unpolished but I love her like you can only love a first pancake (not that I would ever throw out one of my children!). She was born when I was in junior high and reading WAY too much Harry Potter. So she thinks she's harr…

So You Want to Write a Novel Part Two--Brainstorming

Once you've got a killer idea for a novel, you may be tempted to sit at the computer and begin typing that opening sentence. The problem is, you won't get very far before frustration sets in (and the opening sentence may be a crappy one). The second step in the writing process for me--and a necessary one in my opinion--is brainstorming. Once I have an idea and I've written down as much as I can, I start to let things come together in my head. This process can be quite a long one. I brainstormed Cinder and Ella for about six months before I actually began a first draft. Here are some benefits to brainstorming.

1. Character development I spend time just thinking about my characters, what they say in different scenes, what they sound like when they talk, the quirks they have, etc. It gives me a chance to get to know them before I attempt writing their stories. 
2. Plot development I think a lot about plot during this time as well, and often the fun twists come to life at this …

Meet C Michelle Jefferies

Hello. Thanks for being a guest on my blog today. Can I offer you a virtual cookie?

Yes, thank you. I love cookies, especially sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles.  Unless they're those tracking cookies that slow my computer down.
Pretend for a moment that your books are your children. Please introduce us. We’d like names, ages, quirks, birth stories, any details you would like to share.
My oldest child is actually a short story in a Christmas anthology named "Sing We Now Of Christmas". The name of the story is actually "A Real Tree." Written with the song "Oh Christmas Tree." in mind. It was the first Christmas story I ever created. (You see this author mommy is quite a Grinch.) It was also the first piece I ever worked on in first person in a young adult voice.  "A real Tree"  is five months old. And while the season for this baby is over I love to read this story any time of the year. The story was conceived under the idea of what Chri…

When Did You Last Hear Silence?

I came across a bit of wisdom by T. S. Eliot this week and thought I'd share.

O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying! The endless cycle of ideas and action, Endless invention, endless experiment, Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness; Knowledge of speech, but not of silence; Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word. All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance, All our ignorance brings us nearer to death, But nearness to death no nearer to God. Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.

I find it interesting that T. S. Eliot lived prior to the age of vast information technology in which we live. No cell phones. No internet. No facebook, google, twitter, etc. Even all those decades ago, the world was losing its stillness, its silence, its God. So, if I'm ever not online (which…

So You Want to Write a Novel Part 1--The Idea

If you want to write a novel, you are going to have to begin with an idea. If you are thinking about writing a novel, you probably already have an idea. I guess the question is, is it a good idea?

Ideas for novels come from everywhere for me. Often, they are sparked by a vivid dream, or by spoken words that hit me hard or make me laugh. The words often bring an image of a place or a character. Once those characters begin to develop, they never leave my head until I finish writing their story. I imagine what they sound like, what happens to them, why it happens, how they react to their circumstances and surroundings, etc.

When an idea comes to my head, the next task is to mull it over for a few minutes. It only takes that long to know if the story is going anywhere or if it's just another idea resulting from being the owner of an overactive imagination. I give every idea at least a few minutes. If it dead ends quickly, I throw it out. If it begins to evolve and I like what I "…

Writing Goals 2013

This post is more for me so that I have my goals typed up for reference and accountability, but here they are.

1. Get Sunny's Sky self published by February 14, 2013

Finish editLearn how to formatLearn how to self publish 2. Send a few (10 or so) queries for my Bianca series by the end of February 2013 Research agentsWork on query letterDo it! 3. Finish first draft of Sleeping Beauty and the Beast by the end of April 2013 Set consistent writing scheduleDo it! 4. Begin another Bianca book; work on those during the summer along with editing and querying Sleeping Beauty and the Beast
5. Work on The Reformer and The Tracks during the fall and winter seasons of 2013