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Showing posts from February, 2013

Reading to Write

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It's something you'll hear a lot if you want to be a writer: Read. A lot. This is something I've resisted somewhat because if I'm being honest, reading isn't my favorite past time. I much prefer eating cookies. But I understand the value of the idea, and I'd like to share some thoughts on the subject.

First of all, if you passed the 8th grade and still struggle with grammar and punctuation, you can learn what you need to by reading. (Excluding Junie B. Jones books.) As you read, pay attention to punctuation usage, sentence structure, and grammar. Okay, I have to make a confession here. Certain grammar rules still elude me. If this is the case for you too, instead of reading books, read grammar blogs and websites. (Here is one of my favorites.) Or, better yet, purchase an 8th grade grammar workbook. Don't forget to open it and do the work.

Second, read to study. It's great to pick up a good book and get lost in the story and characters, but if you're…

Book Club Movie Review

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I'm not really one to read a book again and again (unless you count the scriptures), and I read the Help a few years ago. So when it came up as the book of the month for book club, a friend of mine suggested we just watch the movie. I said, "That's pure genius."


I don't generally do movie reviews. I'm a picky book reader and I'm an even pickier movie watcher. Which means I'm very selective about the movies I watch. I can't stand movies with zero plot. I hate bad acting. And I don't tolerate inappropriate...what shall I call it?...crap.

This movie was delightful. It followed the book well. The acting is stunning. If fact, I can't think of another movie in existence that is better cast. Usually in a movie, there are two or three actors that were made for the part. In this movie, every actor fits like a tailored glove, even down to the minor characters like Constantine, Rachel, and the editor (played by Leslie Jordan, who perhaps had one role…

It's Your Lucky Day

I'm so excited because I've invited the characters of my brand new book Blue Sky to join me in a round table interview today. They are each allowed to ask one question of a fellow character. To my left sits Sunny, followed by Lewis and Jack. Meg is to my right.
Jack: Can we get this over with?
Me: Please contain yourself, Jack. Otherwise, the lovely people who read my blog will think you’re rude.
Jack: Can I at least go first?
Me: Sure. Fire away.
Jack: Meg, would you like to go out on a date with me?
Meg: (Blushing) I’m flattered, really. But I’m sort of seeing somebody else right now.
Jack: That question doesn't count then. Sunny, will you go out on a date with me?
Lewis: (Glaring) That’s enough, Jack.
Me: Okay, okay. No fist fights here today. Let’s all try to play nice. Lewis, would you like to go next?
Lewis: Yes. Jack, when are you going to stop hitting on my wife?
Silence.
Me: Jack, would you like to answer?
Jack: (Smiles and shakes head)
Me: Okay then, Lewis would…

Meet Mercedes M. Yardley

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

MMY: Thank you so much for having me! And yes, I’d love a virtual cookie. May I offer you an actual cookie? Seriously. I have about two dozen cooling on the counter right now.

Of course. I love cookies. Thank you. Pretend for a moment that your books are your children. Please introduce us. We’d like names, ages, quirks, birth story, any details you would like to share.


MMY: Oh, wow! Welcome to my brood! This is Shock Totem. Well, these are the Shock Totem Sextuplets, I guess. ST is a dark fiction magazine. I originally submitted a story to their first issue as a contributor, and now I’ve been on staff for about four years. Mommy loves you, darlings! That mass o’ children over there, they’re my short stories. Too many to count, in a bunch of wonderful magazines and anthologies. I can’t remember them all or where I’ve placed them. They run around too much. They have skinned knees and wild hair, but I love the…

Happy Valentines!

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I thought I'd share my first ever vlog with you. I hope you enjoy it! 'Tis the day for love after all. I'll be at LTUE for the next two days. Check out the blog tour stops while I'm away. 
You can see the original post and read an awesome review on Jean Booknerd here

Hey, What Are You Doing Here?

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Yeah, I'm supposed to be blogging about writing again. But life grabbed me by the heels, yanked hard (yes, I fell flat on my face) and said, "What you thinkin'? You think you can blog regularly and still pay attention to me? Well, you wrong." I'm not kidding. That's what it said. So, to appease your love of all things bloggy, please check out the blog tour stop today. My good friend R. K. Grow asked the characters from Blue Sky some fun questions and gave a fantastic review. And, if you're an aspiring author, an established author, or even a smelly fish gutter, you should probably check it out. Cool place! She interviews behind the scenes people at publishing companies. Brilliant. Anyway, check it out and have a fabulous day!!


Wishing I were here!

Book Review--The Uses of Adversity

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Have you ever wondered why life is so hard? Ever felt abandoned by God? This book is for you. It's a super short, but super powerful read. It helped me more fully understand that God is always there for us, but because we live in an imperfect world, we are going to suffer losses and pain. I used to hear someone say, "Poor God,  he gets blamed for everything." But the fact is, God loves us and wants to help us. He sent us here to learn. How can we learn without pain? I think it is hard for Him to watch us sometimes. But like the wise parent who understands the importance of allowing their kids to fail, of allowing them to struggle through their problems, He watches anyway. Ready to help whenever we ask.  Here it is on Amazon.

Meet Author Andrew Leon

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

Ooh... a cookie! Okay, since it's virtual, I'll say yes. Unless virtual cookies have sugar in them? They don't, do they? Because that would be bad.

Virtual cookie = zero sugar and zero calories. Here you go. 
Pretend for a moment that your books are your children. Please introduce us. We’d like names, ages, quirks, birth story, any details you would like to share.


Well, I don't really get into that whole "books as children" thing, but I can tell you about them. The House on the Corner just turned two last week (Feb 6). I wrote it as a bedtime story for my kids, taking inspiration from Tolkien in how he wrote The Hobbit, so that I would have outside motivation to follow through and finish the book. I also modeled the structure loosely off of Paul Zindel's The Pigman because I hadn't seen any other multiple 1st person perspective books around. At the time, I wasn't reall…

Blue Sky Theme Song

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When I finished the first draft of Blue Sky, this song hadn't even come out yet. But when I first heard it, I was like, "Man, that was written for Lewis and Sunny." I think I like the original Daughtry version a little better, but I love the snow in this video. Snow is a significant part of Blue Sky. It is the reason Sunny and Lewis meet in the first place, and it nearly costs Lewis his life in the end. I've never heard of this band before. Anyone know who they are and where they come from? You can check out today's blog tour stop here.

What's the theme song of your latest novel or WIP?

Writing Romance and Michael Buble

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You know when you're reading a romance and get to that part where the main characters are separated for some reason? And you have to keep reading because you're dying to know how they get back together, if they get back together (gulp)? Well, when I was writing Blue Sky, I found this part of the story unbearable to write. I hated when Lewis and Sunny were not together. But writing takes a little more time than reading, and I couldn't drop my life to finish the book. (I often take huge breaks when I'm writing). This song, Lost by Michael Buble, got me through.



The blog tour for Blue Sky starts today! Check out the schedule here.

Blue Sky Playlist

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I'm supposed to be blogging about writing today, but I'm a little preoccupied with the blog tour (which begins Friday), proofing, life, etc. So, I thought I'd share some of the songs that are part of my Blue Sky Playlist. These songs either helped to inspire something about the book, remind me of the book, or helped me get through writing the book. Sunny Came Home by Shawn Colvin inspired a lot of Blue Sky, including the main character's first name. Even though the book has no fires, this song reminds me of the grief and insanity Sunny feels after losing her parents.



Meet Helen Boswell, Author of Mythology

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

Thanks so much for hosting me, Melissa. I would LOVE a cookie. :D
Pretend for a moment that your books are your children. Please introduce us. We’d like names, ages, quirks, birth story, any details you would like to share.

I have an only child named MYTHOLOGY, who was born in August, 2012 (I suppose she's still a baby or maybe a toddler by now). MYTHOLOGY had a fairly long gestation time because she started off as an adult novel, but I rewrote her in almost its entirety to be YA about a year and a half ago. Her story is about two high school kids and their struggles to defy "The Fates" and to assert the choices they make in their lives. Ironically, a little bit of "Fate" is ultimately what brought them together. It's a coming-of-age story of two rather unique people with love and thrills along the way. Quirks? My child MYTHOLOGY has a penchant for the arts and music, and inter…

How Are Your New Years Resolutions Going?

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Sounds like a polite and nosy conversation starter, right? Well, this is what has been on my mind today because it's February 1st. I love the cycle of our earth. It goes around and around, always landing again on that 1st day of the month. I've taken some time today to evaluate my New Years goals and plan to do the same at the beginning of every month. My writing goals are coming along fantastically, but I've suffered for it a little personally. I need to balance more, meditate more, spend more time NOT working and more time enjoying my beautiful family. My weight loss goal did horribly last month, and so I decided to set a goal to count calories for the entire month of February. Any amount of torture is doable for one month, right?

If your New Years resolutions are already shot, I encourage you to simply re-evaluate. There is no need to give up, no need to get discouraged, no need to binge. You're a human being. And I am giving you permission to be a human being. Lear…