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W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Ava Jae

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Chasing The Crazies , 23 April 2014 · 6 views

    I’m very excited today to share the writing journey of Ava Jae.  A while ago, I was lucky to read the first few chapters of her manuscript, SLAVE & SIRA, and was blown away by her writing.  Now I am thrilled to share her writing odyssey where she shares a few tidbits about her time […]

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Earth and the Punchy Lands

  Posted by Professor VJ Duke in The Punchy Lands!, 23 April 2014 · 10 views

The professor was staring at two pictures.

Earth.

bluemarble_apollo17_big[1]

And the Punchy Lands.

globe_west_2048

(At least, someone’s interpretation of it.)

I was looking at these intently—seated at a table in Cashew City—when Schwarz Tauptinker sat down at the table.

“So ho-ho hi!” Schwarz announced expectantly.

What he was expecting, I’m not sure.

“Hello, Schwarz,” I said.

“Why are you staring at kiddy balls? Chickit.”

“No, no. These are pictures of planets.”

“I knew that.” Schwarz laughed.

And that’s when she sat down. She has short black hair, but it’s likely to change. As a matter of fact, everything about her is likely to change. But one thing changes more often than any other thing that changes–if that makes sense.

Her name.

The professor wasn’t sure what to say.

“Aren’t you two going to greet me?” she asked.

“I don’t think so,” Schwarz answered.

“Everyone with me sends you greetings,” I said finally. “And…what’s your name today?”

“Today it’s Lottie,” she answered. “And that’s better than Ollie—which it was on my last assignment.”

I think I should explain.

Lottie, you see, is some sort of secret-agent. (I bet MM knows her somewhat. He was an agent at one time, I hear.) I think she’s worked with Mark Malone, and I think Mortimer Butterfield hires her quite frequently. When she’s about, it’s usually because she’s after something—or someone.

“And my name is Schwarzio.” Schwarz laughed at that one.

Lottie gave Schwarz the side-eye. (The look is scary, you know.)

But Schwarz didn’t mind.

“So…” the professor began. “What are you…what are you doing?”

“Well, professor…” And Lottie snatched up the two pictures I had been studying.

“You were just thieved on, dude,” Schwarz observed.

Lottie stood. “This second picture was produced by my current employer. You’re not allowed to have it. And I’ll want to know how you got it when I return.”

“When might that dadblamery occur?” I asked.

“You’ll never see me coming.”

Schwarz didn’t like that. “But I see you going?”

Lottie Ollie was gone.

“Oh dear,” I said.

And I made sure my katana was close.



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Spring Query Extravaganza #6

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 23 April 2014 · 13 views

It's here!! I'll be doing a limited number of query critiques in the next few weeks to celebrate spring. Right now I have no spots open. Keep watching and it's likely I'll reopen near the end of the month. 

Participants must comment on other Spring Query entries to pay it forward. If I notice someone not leaving comments, their query will get skipped.

Now to the fine print:

All query critiques are subjective. And rabbits don't come out of my hat, but I'll do my best. Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear. Buy one and I'll throw in a set of free steak knives, just pay separate shipping and handling fees. Plus, you know, I'm leaving pink comments in celebration of spring so you have to be able to tolerate pink.

As sent to me:



In Nyarteme, a world ruled by Muses and Artists, art is both beautiful and deadly. Words can cut you, songs can control you, and a play can imprison you forever.

But Merrick is no Artist. He is only a carnival man, blessed with nothing but a perfect memory and thieving fingers. His life is simple, safe, and artless - until he is forced to steal one of the mirrored masks of Propa, Muse of Acting. Within days, he is in the city of Syduire, seated at Propa's play, the mask within reach.

Then his childhood love Eanna puts it on. 

Her eyes darken. Her hands extend. And with only a mirror for a face, she begins to strangle him.

He rips the mask away, but it is a temporary reprieve. Every day, the mask returns, and every day, the real Eanna slips farther away. An actress of Propa has taken her place, intent on creating the performance of a lifetime - with someone else's life. She knows every look and every lie that can hurt Merrick the most, and she will stop at nothing to return the mask to her Muse. Not even murder.

And she is not the only one who wants the mask. Merrick soon learns what he really stole - the first weapon in a war between the Muses themselves. Pursued on all sides with Eanna's time running out, Merrick scours the artistic world for a way to save her. His perfect memory may hold the key, but the difference between knowing someone and merely remembering them is greater than he imagines.

Artists of the Body is a literary high fantasy combining the style of Name of the Wind with the unique world-building of Brent Weeks' Lightbringer trilogy. It is complete at 125,000 words. Though it is a standalone novel, it is also the first in a series, and subsequent books are underway.

With my crazy comments:


Merrick lives In Nyarteme, a world ruled by Muses and Artists, where art is both beautiful and deadly. Words can cut you, songs can control you, and a play can imprison you forever. (I'm not sure if this is figuratively or literally. Do you mean art can get you in trouble with the government, or some kind of magic is at work?)

But Merrick is no Artist.(And we get to the MC. Ideally you want to lead with the MC and not the worldbuilding. See if you can't weave Merrick into the first paragraph. I made a rough attempt above. Then you can add this first sentence to the 1st paragraph and it can be a small hook.) He is only(I'd cut 'only') a carnival man, blessed with nothing but a perfect memory and thieving fingers.(hardly nothing) His life is simple, safe, and artless - until he is forced to steal one of the mirrored masks of Propa, Muse of Acting.(Why? Why he is forced to steal would be his motivation. We want to see his motivation. It's what moved him to act. Are they treatening to kill his love? Does he need the money?) Within days, he is in the city of Syduire, seated at Propa's play, the mask within reach. (This is a minor detail we don't need to know.)

Then his childhood love Eanna puts it on. 

Her eyes darken. Her hands extend. And with only a mirror for a face, she begins to strangle him. (You've slipped into writing mode instead of query mode. You aren't describing the book anymore. You're reliving it. Try something like: Then his childhood love Eanna beats him too it, puts it on and becomes a killer, attempting to strangle him.)

He rips the mask away, but it is a temporary reprieve. Every day, the mask returns, and every day, the real Eanna slips farther away. An actress of Propa has taken her place, intent on creating the performance of a lifetime - with someone else's life. She knows every look and every lie that can hurt Merrick the most, and she will stop at nothing to return the mask to her Muse. Not even murder. (Your focus is wandering. Decide what is important. Merrick stealing the mask is not the plot. Trying to get it away from his girlfriend seems to be the plot. The query is about 50 words over the average length. Keeping the focus honed in will help with the length. Distill it down.)

And she is not the only one who wants the mask. Merrick soon learns what he really stole - the first weapon in a war between the Muses themselves.(Good. This ups the stakes.) Pursued on all sides with Eanna's time running out, Merrick scours the artistic world for a way to save her. His perfect memory may hold the key(I like this aspect. It's unique. Don't be afraid to play it up and maybe even add how it can save them.), but the difference between knowing someone and merely remembering them is greater than he imagines. ((That last part is very vague. I don't know what it means, which makes it fall flat as a stake.) And same here with the distilling. Agents want to see that you can condense and get to the heart of the plot. Something like this:


Merrick lives in Nyarteme, a world ruled by Muses and Artists, where art is both beautiful and deadly. Thanks to magic, words can cut you, songs can control you, and a play can imprison you forever. But Merrick is no artist.

He's a carnival man who happens to be blessed with perfect memory and thieving fingers. When his grandmother is kidnapped, he’s forced to steal one of the mirrored masks of Propa, Muse of Acting. He succeeds only for his childhood love Eanna to don the mask and become a killer.

Before she can strangle him, Merrick rips the mask away, but every day it returns. Knowing each look and lie to hurt Merrick, Eanna will stop at nothing to return the mask to her Muse (and what?) and put the power to blankblank in the goddess' hands.

Others also seek the mask. It’s the first weapon in a war between the Muses themselves that can grant (blank). Merrick’s perfect memory may hold the key to saving Eanna and humanity or (bad thing that will happen).  

Artists of the Body is a literary high fantasy combining the style of Name of the Wind(One of my favorites) with the unique world-building of Brent Weeks' Lightbringer trilogy. (All very long works. But it's usual for a debut author to get this word count.) It is complete at 125,000 words.(Maybe just a touch high for high/epic fantasy.) Though it is a standalone novel, it is also the first in a series, and subsequent books are underway. (A standalone novel, it also has series potential. or A standalone novel, it is intended as a series.)

Condense. Distill. Trim down to the crucial parts. Tell us what will happen if Merrick fails and what power the mask can grant.

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Novel Review: Noah: The Official Movie Novelization

  Posted by Sakura Eries in Sakura Eries' Blog: Keeping It In Canon …mostly, 22 April 2014 · 19 views

The Bible has provided the inspiration for many a Hollywood movie, and the latest of these is Paramount’s Noah, which was released last month. I had the opportunity to review the movie novelization, and you can read on for my thoughts about the book.

back cover blurb

When he has a vision about a flood sent to destroy all life on earth, Noah knows what he must do. Together with his family, he must save two of every living animal. He must build an ark. Noah has to evade the many dangers that would see him fail and leave the world to ruin, and overcome his own struggles to fulfill his mission. This is the epic story of one man’s attempt to preserve life for a new world.

The review

The story of Noah’s ark is often showcased in Children’s Bibles and storybooks, but when you really think about it, it’s not a G rated story. Mankind so corrupt and evil as to induce its Creator to wipe it out? Destruction so absolute the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami look like nothing in comparison? That’s hardly kiddie fare.

Indeed it’s a bleak world Morris lays out in his novel adaption of the recently released Noah movie (which, by the way, I have not yet seen). With the exception of Noah’s family and bad guy Tubal-Cain, humanity seems incapable of rational thought, let alone compassion. Their squalor, desperation, and hopelessness make this antediluvian past look more like an apocalyptic future. That atmosphere is heightened by environmental destruction on a massive scale. For Noah’s contemporaries, tzohar is the all-purpose energy source. It sparks fire, blows apart rocks, put animals into hibernation, and comprises the bodies of fallen heavenly beings. Of course, extracting it comes at a price, and the descriptions of polluted lands and denuded forests are a not so subtle commentary on our present-day efforts to secure energy.

Of course, our leading man Noah stands for everything corrupt humanity is not. Unfortunately, he comes off more as an uber-militant vegan than God’s agent of change. In the second chapter, he defends an animal from three starving hunters. He kills the men without compunction but gives the mortally wounded animal a funeral. For Noah, killing and eating animals is a worse crime than murder. It’s ironic that the back cover touts the story as “One man’s quest to save mankind.” When he realizes that a flood is coming, his concern is solely for the animals, forget about his fellow man.

Noah’s point of view is somewhat understandable at first given his father’s tragic end, but he becomes increasingly unsympathetic as the story progresses. In the biblical account, God speaks to Noah in almost painfully detailed terms, but in this novel he’s silent. The only communications Noah receives are nightmarish prophetic visions. However, none of these visions are so specific as to say, “The ark must have these dimensions,” or “Bring two of each animal,” and Noah’s inclination is to use the harshest interpretation possible. He’s all divine wrath and judgment, and while he goes on (and on and on) about humanity’s evils, he hypocritically withholds mercy from even the members of his family.

As for those family members, they’re a rather flat bunch. Ham is the strongest personality, but he acts and speaks more like an eight-year-old than a fifteen-year-old. Japheth has hardly any presence, and Shem’s only purpose is to be Ila’s husband. As for Ila, she, not Noah, seems to be the remaining righteous person in the world, but she’s too much a victim, just as Ham is too overtly the family’s rebel.

Perhaps to make up for its less than compelling character development, the novel’s packed with action. As if a planetwide flood wasn’t epic enough, the story includes a battle for the ark, followed by fistfights at sea. Unfortunately, while ruthless warlords, tzohar pipe guns, six-armed stone giants, and the worst storm ever probably serve up a visual feast when rendered in CG, it gets a bit tedious and repetitive in print.

In summary

Not surprisingly, Noah takes liberties with the original biblical account. The addition of gross environmental destruction to mankind’s corruption provides an interesting vision of the antediluvian world, but the underlying premise that violence against animals and ecosystem is man’s greatest evil is a bit harder to swallow. While Noah does stand apart from the rest of fallen humanity, his own misanthropic self-righteousness make him a less than inspiring figure.

First published at The Fandom Post.



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On Submission With A Debut Author - Christine Kohler & NO SURRENDER SOLDIER

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 22 April 2014 · 19 views

If there's one thing that many aspiring writers have few clues about, it's the submission process. There are good reasons for that; authors aren't exactly encouraged to talk in detail about our own submission experiences, and - just like agent hunting - everyone's story is different.&nbsp;I managed to cobble together a few non-specific questions that some debut authors have agreed to answer (bless them). And so I bring you the submission interview series - Submission Hell - It's True. Yes, it's the SHIT.<br /><br />Today's guest is debut&nbsp;<a href="http://www.christine...it on a secret.

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Consumer Feedback: Taking Your Complaints Local

  Posted by dclabs in dan.croutch.ca, 21 April 2014 · 27 views

We live in a very, very accessible world.

In a few keystrokes or with a couple clicks of a mouse we can see what nearly anybody thinks about nearly anything, anyone or anyplace.  Online reviews are a great way to get a feel for a place before you visit, or help you get an idea of what you might, or might not, be getting into.  Reviews usually come with a healthy mix of the local fans and those who will never have a good experience at any place – ever.  You have to read through and find the happy medium.  Sites like Trip Advisor actually let you search for reviews on destinations based on activities similar to your own.  You can see family reviews, honeymoon reviews, snowbird reviews etc.  This can be a big help in giving you a more accurate picture.

Online forums, reviews and social media have become a trough of feedback from consumers.  People rave and vent freely on these sites and companies pay tons of money to try and engage people to keep things controlled.  It’s a difficult game to play, and I’m guilty of jumping to social media to rant.  However, a recent experience at McDonald’s got me thinking about how trigger happy I was to jump to Twitter with bad experiences.

Go Local

Social media platforms for companies are often run by third party marketing firms.  Incident specific complaints are hard for them to nail down and resolve.  In more than one occasion my poor experience with a specific service was grievanced online.  It usually leads to some conversation, but no real concrete resolution.  In a recent visit to McDonald’s locally I was sent away from the drive through missing one of my burgers.  I had ordered a large meal for the family and didn’t have the chance to check the order before getting home.  My gut response was to tweet about it, lambasting the franchise for (again) screwing up the order.  However my wife suggested I call the restaurant and see if they can do something.

Sure enough a courteous shift manager apologized for the issue and corrected it by having the correct burger ready for me when I returned.  She even gave me a few other items free off the menu for my troubles.  In all honesty I would not have gotten this level of resolution from the McDonald’s twitter account.  It led to a bit of a revelation as far as how I the consumer could allow companies to remedy issues, and what is a better way to go about airing issues.

Said revelation is this:  try resolving the issue locally first, in the franchise or location where the issue occurred.  If it’s an online store call the customer service line first.  Many companies, particularly franchised locations, are eager and willing to deal with issues if the customer brings them up (and you have to be courteous about it).  Give them a chance to fix it here before you start spreading manure about the company as a whole on the public forum of the internet.  Dealing with it locally gives the opportunity for the issue to be addressed and resolved nearly instantly, much faster than it would online.

Reward those who listen

I made sure to call the franchise owner and McDonald’s customer service after my experience.  I intentionally remembered the name of the girl who served me so I could pass on how well she handled the situation.  Anybody who has worked with customers before – probably all of us – knows how frustrating and annoying customers who have been miffed are.  They rarely speak nicely and they’re almost always demanding.  It takes a smart manager to have enabled this girl to resolve the situation how she did and a true professional to take the call and immediately offer resolution.  If all you deal with are demanding, thankless people, we might quickly become jaded and less enthusiastic in our resolution to problems.

Being grateful is a great way to encourage that person or company to keep doing it.  Public recognition may also drive more people to be polite and professional in their approach to airing grievances.  If anything, a grateful attitude is a wonderful anecdote to the astonishing sense of entitlement we have developed as consumers (that’s for another rant).  Thank the person in person or on twitter – wherever the resolution occurred.  Do so immediately and genuinely.  Then take it a step further and thank their superior and commend the person you dealt with.  People by nature look for “whats in it for me” when they do things – make it worth their while to correct a mistake.  Shockingly they actually don’t have to do anything.  We as consumers aren’t very good at the boycotting thing.

Tweet respectfully strong

If all else fails, and there is a legitimate grievance, use the power of social media to try and get attention to it.  Even so, don’t sound like an entitled bratty 3 year old when you do it.  Angry posts often offend or belittle an issue whereas terse courtesy conveys the true weight of the grievance.  Just whining online isn’t fun for the company or the people who follow you.  Take it from me, someone who’ll jump to twitter before giving someone a chance to set the record strait.  It’s a tough habit to break.


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My Writing Process: Letting The Story Go Where It Wants

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 21 April 2014 · 15 views

I wrote earlier of deciding when to end a story. And I've written in the past of times when my characters do and say things that actually surprise me. But I experienced something last night that was quite exhilarating and unexpected. As a reader I love a good plot twist. I just didn't know that I could enjoy the same thing as a writer. I mean, I'm writing the book. How can I not know what's next. I have no idea. I just know that's what happened.

I started writing a chapter and, frankly, it was spinning its wheels. I had no idea where it was going. I had some fun dialogue and a few laughs, but the plot wasn't being advanced. Why? Because I couldn't figure out where to take it. I was afraid to have my characters take any action until I knew where I wanted the plot to go. But I couldn't decide. Catch the bad guy? Almost catch the bad guy? Kill the bad guy? None of the above? If choice D, then where to now? I just couldn't make up my mind what I wanted to happen next. 

So I decided to choose option E: surprise myself. I put the main character in an iffy situation and see what he would do. He did a cool thing, it turns out. And as a result of this cool thing, he made a startling discovery that will lead to some neat plot points down the road. And the exciting part was that, until about thirty seconds before they travelled out of my brain, down my arms, into my fingers, and onto the screen, I had no idea what the words and events were going to be. 

I have to admit, while it was a fun way to write, it was also quite daunting and exhausting. One one hand, I was so thrilled by what happened that I had trouble getting to sleep. On the other hand, despite being restless, I was really wrung out. Actually physically spent. It's kind of like hacking through the jungle with a slightly dull machete (though the dull part is probably only because it was me). Once you get to a clearing, you really appreciate it, but you'll be sore when you arrive. I don't mind visiting from time to time, but I don't want to live in the jungle all the time.  

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Blog Ring of Power Interview with Michelle K. Pickett

  Posted by LucidDreamer in LucidDreamer's Blog, 21 April 2014 · 11 views

Today I welcome  author Michelle K. Pickett. You can find the other four parts of the Blog Ring of Power interview with Michelle on the following blogs, so please check them out to get the whole story! Emily LaBonte Sandra Ulbrich Almazon http://terribruce.net/ T.W. Fendley Tell us about your route to success –how did you land your […]

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The Writer's Tank Update

  Posted by SC_Author in SC Write--Writing, Publishing, and Harry Potter, 21 April 2014 · 8 views

Things are going very well. We got 14 requests from the first three agents who stopped by (Ms. Menon, Ms. Anderson-Wheeler, and Ms. Albert, thank you!) and the other three will stop by before Wednesday.

It's the home stretch! And it's going very well so far. Good luck to everyone!

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celine trapeze much

Posted by koliafesus in koliafesus' Blog, 21 April 2014 · 14 views
celine trapeze

celine trapeze much Dealing with emotionally unavailable men can be the most daunting task even for an experienced woman. Problems start arising in the dating phase because such men refuse to give in emotionally. Most women are mistaken into believing that they can transform the man into whatever they want. Sadly, this never happens. celine box bag small
Emotionally unavailable men make the task difficult for women because, even though they are available on the dating scene, their http://www.wikipedia.org preferences aren't clear. They are present physically but their mental and emotional presence is celine trapeze much missed.
Emotionally unavailable men can celine clasp shoulder bag be easily differentiated from others. They will mostly have had a number of relationships (they fall in love at the drop of a hat) and in fact may even have more than one or two casual relationships at the same time.
These men tend to be a confused lot, not knowing what they really want. Even when it comes to women, these men celine doctor handbag continue to be lost and don't take their partners seriously. If you are in love with such a man, it is a wise thing not to pursue a relationship with him. Such men tend to be highly unreliable and no matter what he says, there is a good chance that he'll get over you soon.
You may also be tempted to think that you have what is takes to change him. However, this happens to be a big mistake. You will try to pamper and spoil him to make him fall in line with you but this will only make him take you more for granted. His insensitivity and lack of compassion will make him believe that celine luggage bag you are ready to put up with anything just for him.
You will gladly undergo this process for a while until you reach a breaking point. Unfortunately, by then, you will be too emotionally attached to him and may even think of putting yourself celine boston luggage through the worst, just to be with him. However, even this won't last for long and ultimately, you will go through immense pain and disappointment.
With such men, the best way is to maintain a distance. Initially, it will be difficult but if you think of the long-term suffering associated with such a relationship, your mind will start accepting your decision more easily. Get yourself involved in other things and activities like sports, hobby classes, music and celine clutch pouch likewise. For all you know, this kind of behavior from you may actually make him long for you. If he comes looking for you, don't be too excited because it may not last too long.
Your best way of dealing with emotionally unavailable men Celine Outlet is just to take yourself away. No matter what you do, there is little possibility that they will ever change. Even if the man changes for a while, don't take your hopes too high because sooner than you know, they will come crashing down when he gets back to his actual insensitive self.

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A Satellite Photo of the Loch Ness Monster?

  Posted by MichaelRC in Legend Trippers: Screaming is Believing, 20 April 2014 · 19 views

2013 marked the first time in almost nine decades when not a single reported sighting of the Loch Ness Monster came to light. Just as it seemed that the legendary creature had begun to fade from public attention, a new photo has surfaced — from Apple’s satellite maps app — showing an incredible monster-like shape beneath the infamous lake.

After a year of hiding, Nessie returns -- could this really be a prehistoric creature, or is there a natural explanation? Image Credit: <a class='bbc_url' href='http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/news/265280/loch-ness-monster-found-on-mobile-map-app'>http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/news/265280/loch-ness-monster-found-on-mobile-map-app</a>

After a year of hiding, Nessie returns — could this really be a prehistoric creature, or is there a natural explanation?
Image Credit: unexplained-mysteries.com

Anyone familiar with descriptions of the Loch Ness Monster will no doubt spot the two flipper-like paddles on either side of the object — a classic feature in Nessie lore. Skeptics will rightly point out that pareidolia may be at work here. Harder to discount, though, is the lack of a boat which could have created the kind of wake necessary to produce such a bizarre image.

According to one estimation, the shape is 100 feet in length — far larger than anything known to inhabit Loch Ness, and it also makes the possibility of a floating log that much more unlikely. Then again, simple undersea currents might be the culprit — although no definitive explanation has come forward. Until then, this image remains another tantalizing piece of the Nessie puzzle.

Tagged: Anomalies and Alternative Science, cryptozoology, Loch Ness Monster, Nessie

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Why You Should Read Your Genre: A Correction

  Posted by From The Write Angle in From The Write Angle Blog, 16 April 2014 · 30 views


by S. L. Duncan



I know what you want to know. You come here, browsing our various posts, searching for that elusive answer to the question we all asked ourselves and whomever else would throw us an answer when first starting out.

What, above all else, can I do to improve my odds of getting published?

There are a lot of answers to this question. A lot of books written that offer pages and pages of tricks of the trade and career advice. I've paid for one or two myself. Some of them may work for you, most will not.

But I want to offer you something more simplistic: buy a book in the genre in which you wish to write, and read it.

Revolutionary, right? Okay. Maybe not. You've probably heard it before. If not from me, then from any number of other authors. I’ve been giving that answer every time I’ve sat on a literary panel because, let’s face it, that’s usually the first question you ask. But I’ve come to realize, you’ve been taking my meaning all wrong.

And that’s my fault for not being clear. When I tell you to read a book in your chosen genre, I don’t mean do it so you can learn how those authors did it.

No, no, no. 

First, I’m not even sure by reading a book, you can figure out how that author writes. I could be wrong, here, but if you read my stuff you’re not seeing the process that got me there. The crap sentences. The cut pages. The endless redlining. Don't even look at my trunk. Not to be too cliche, but the journey is everything.  It's the hours learning your craft, the dedication and sacrifice. It's the party you missed and the nights of trial and error. The wadding of paper and the full waste basket. 

Let’s suspend belief, though. Let’s say, somehow, in reading an Andrew Smith novel you figure out how to retro-engineer his writing and learn how to write just like him. His nuance. His voice and word usage and sentence structure. That’s fantastic! Congratulations. The problem is, there’s already an Andrew Smith out there, and he’s doing just fine.

So, let me clarify and restate my answer. If you want to better your chances at getting published, go read a book in the genre in which you wish to be published. Read two. No, in fact, read a shelf worth. Now, in truth, you should be reading them already. And if you have been...well, you've had the answer all along.

And here, dear friends, is why:

You should be reading books in the genre in which you wish to be published because you should love those books; be dedicated to them. Starved to read the next one from your favorite author - if you can even pick a favorite author from the stellar line up of talent sitting in your bookstore's window. Because, here's the deal: if you’re unable to find joy in the books you read, there’s no way you’ll be able to instill that sense of joy in the books you write. That’s what distinguishes good from great.  This is a business of knife-edge margins. Publishers aren’t looking for good. They want the genuine article. They want great.

It boils down to being passionate about your work and passionate about the work your peers are doing. It’s the difference in the Sunday fried chicken dinner your grandmother made and the KFC value box number two.

Put your pen down, pick up a book, and turn a few pages. Find your joy in the words on them. Then take that joy and let it inspire your own words.

If it’s natural and real and honest, you’ll know it. As will everyone else that reads your work.



S. L. Duncan writes young adult fiction, including his debut, The Revelation of Gabriel Adam, releasing August 12th, 2014 from Medallion Press. You can find him blogging on INKROCK.com and on Twitter.

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OakOak is Off the Wall. Literally

  Posted by Deb Borys in Painted Black, the novel, 16 April 2014 · 20 views

OakOak  has a very strange yet whimsical mind.  Love these. via Street Art That Plays With Its Surroundings «TwistedSifter. See more of OakOak’s  stuff at http://oakoak.canalblog.com/  

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Club1506 Interview with Jenny's Vision Project

  Posted by SVP86 in Lounge 1506, 16 April 2014 · 22 views



If you haven’t heard of our next gust, you soon will. Mr. Øivind Kristian Stavik hails from Norway and is the founder of an independent recording group called Jenny’s Vision Project. They mostly have a 80s Pop/Rock sound and have had their music featured all over the world. Many musicians and vocalists perform with them and helped the JVP with their goal of producing music of the highest quality. Musicians who wish to join the worldwide project are more than welcome to; however, they must keep in that the JVP expects those who wish to join to have high standards of quality as well. After all, the JVP was inspired by a beloved woman who died of cancer. Click here to check out the full story at Club1506.

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Rachel Drake Series

Posted by Orville in Orville's Blog, 16 April 2014 · 22 views

I am working on a series stories where the main character, Rachel Drake, is a co-owner of a used bookstore and a paranormal investigator.

I will add more as I go along.

I am on the last chapter of a book with the working title of Chronicles of Rachel Drake. This novel takes place on New Mexico Rt 666 and has Rachel investigating various legends and demons.

I am also finishing a novella with the working title of There Was A Chocolate Man. This story takes place in Rachel's hometown and involves a paranormal investigation and a serial killer.

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Interview with Y.R. Jones - Winner of the April Fools' Query Contest!

Posted by jadah in The Query Faerie, 14 April 2014 · 45 views

Interview with Y.R. Jones - Winner of the April Fools' Query Contest!


OR


A Tale of Questions, Answers, and Analysis


Hello, everyone! Hope you all had an awesome weekend and took a break from your query so you can get out of your writer cave, feel the sun on your face and go de-stress! Getting bombarded with criticism (constructive or no) can be stressful, and all of you guys deserve a pat on the back for putting your work out there to the public for review. Thank you again for being a part of my contest!

Miss Y.R. Jones was nice enough to take time out of her day to answer some questions for me. Without further ado, enjoy this interview with the winner:

1) Are you a pantser or a plotter?

You know, I was in denial for a long time about my Type A personality. I thought I could attempt my first ever MS writing on a whim – until it turned out garbage. So, I started writing as the true me—a plotter. It keeps me from rambling and creating scenes that don’t belong.

True dat! Plots are difficult things to control. I often wonder if other writers have as many issues with plotting as I do! It’s good to hear that I’m not alone.

2) Where did you get the idea for your novel?

Whew! (Breathe, Von) Let me see how I can make this short. I drew the idea of the MCs and the setting (college campus) from my first MS (based on events of my past). I truly believed a story was there; I just didn’t tell it well [at all] the first time. Then, I figured it needed a challenge (time travel), and the rest just came as I wrote new words.

3) How long did it take you to finish the first draft?

I’m almost done. :) But it’s taken me almost a year. I have an annoying habit of line-editing as I write, which takes me longer to churn out a first draft than it should.

I am the same way! Do you feel like you can’t move on to another scene if the first one isn’t almost perfect? I’m so jealous of people who can pump out a whole novel in three months!

4) How do you handle writer’s block?

I wait it out; I often develop writer’s block because my brain needs the break. Eventually, something in my life will inspire me again. I often tell myself, “There is no rush.” So far, it works.

5) Are you published anywhere?

Not anymore (self-publishing project gone wrong :: bangs head on keyboard :: ).

It happens. :)

6) What are your three favorite books and why?

“The Color Purple” is my #1. I’ve read it quite a few times. It gives me everything I need in one book—emotion (from sadness and pain to joy and pride), voice, and historical imagery. I draw some inspiration from “The Time Traveler’s Wife” (and no, not because it’s about time travel…lol) and Audrey Niffenegger’s ability to make me feel, see, and love her [flawed] characters. Hm, I don’t have a 3rd favorite, but I must say I love Ann Patchett’s writing style and her talent to evoke emotion. (In case you have noticed, I have a thing for emotional books. lol)

Flawed characters are the best characters, I think. It makes them so much more real.

7) What’s next for you? Have you started the querying process?

I plan to finish my first draft by the end of the month with full editing to begin immediately after. I hope to begin querying this summer, but it depends on how satisfied I am with the final product. (Note: I’m never totally satisfied.)

Good luck!

8) How do you handle harsh criticism?

Well, I prove them wrong, of course. Just kidding. Once the sting of the criticism wears off, I consider the comments with an open mind. Most of the time, the comments are spot on, and I ALWAYS aim to correct and do better. (The query and first 250 entered into this contest were actually improved due to the critiques I received from my first contest.) It may take me a while to get there (I struggle with accepting someone else’s opinion of me; who doesn’t, right?), but eventually, it gets done.

That’s a great attitude!

9) What keeps you from giving up when you’re feeling discouraged?

My children. When they start to drive me bonkers, I’m reminded that I’m not doing this just for me. They look up to me, and being their hero, I refuse to let them down.

10) Do you have a “soundtrack” for your novel?

Absolutely. Poor Ed Sheeran (his “+” album) is tired of playing on repeat, but his lyrics and rhythms allow me to connect with my MS and its characters – instead of typing just to meet a word count.

11) How was your experience in this contest? Anything you’d like to say to the other contestants?

It’s been pleasant and educational. I was able to learn from the feedback I received as well as learn from what the participants had to say about the other entries; it taught me what also appealed to readers that I didn’t include in my own query/work. I actually found myself liking stories that I, before the contest, would’ve never gravitated towards in a bookstore. The contest granted me the chance to explore outside of my genre, my comfort zone. So, thank you!

To my fellow contestants, remember that there are so many different styles of writing and a wide range of creative plots that appeal to all types of readers. Don’t let the criticism discourage you and your story. The contest was about HOW you present that story, and we all want to present our best. Keep working. Do NOT give up. Believe it or not, we ALL won from this contest, and I congratulate you all!


Great advice, Yvonne! Thank you for sharing with us! I am looking forward to reading your first three chapters. Good luck to you in the editing and querying phase.

The winning query and first 250 words:

Query:

Dear [AGENT]:

Within the cold walls of his institute, Dr. Vincent Douvrey dedicated years to his innovations but none to his devoted wife. He never said “I love you”, and until her fatal car accident, he had no desire to say “I’m sorry”. Guilt-ridden and eager to deliver that apology in person, and even more eager to receive his next accolade in science, Vincent attempts his most recent innovation—transitory time travel by liquid ingestion.

But the tonic doesn’t transport him to three years prior. Instead, he awakens almost fifteen years into the past in a University of South Florida dorm room with passé décor. Thanks to Lacunar amnesia, Vincent doesn’t remember any moment or anyone he befriended his first time as a college student. However, an even greater obstacle plagues him: how to return to the future.

Vincent turns to the campus library for guidance, but his research leads him to meet Carmen, a junior student who is not his wife. Carmen is immediately smitten by his Grenadian accent and unfamiliar charm and he by her stunning beauty and unselfishness. Their magnetic passion brews a sultry love affair. Meanwhile, the thirty-five-year old man she believes is twenty-one continues to seek a reverse transport solution.

However, Vincent’s hope of returning home to his acclaimed work dwindles, forcing him to relive his past while loving a woman he knows he doesn’t marry. But when he makes a shocking discovery as to Carmen’s true identity, Vincent hastens to find a way to return to his rightful decade to learn the truth about his repressed past and her role in his future.

LIKE YESTERDAY is commercial fiction and complete at 90,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

First 250:

Dr. Douvrey possessed a keen talent to ignore. He ignored the resounding proclamation that time travel didn’t exist. He ignored his wife who loved him more than her nursing shoes worn to its last shred of rubber. He ignored his mother who told him that he wouldn’t succeed without her international clout. But this talent was often tested by his incompetent assistant of seven years, whom he observed from his chamber as she mixed and spilled chemicals onto his laminate lab table, incinerating it layer by layer. It was only the eleventh table he had to replace because of her; one more was sure to be tainted within the year. Dim smoke smothered her face, obstructing her view of the doctor’s narrowed eyes and furrowed brows. She owned a brilliant mind, but the doctor found it challenging each new day to ignore her fumbles, destructions, and blabbering. After four long breaths and a silent prayer for strength not to kill her, Dr. Douvrey turned his back towards the window and continued to shield himself within the glass room of toxic fumes, a poor attempt to escape her recurrent interferences and to maintain his state of being alone.

The chamber upheld its purpose of providing security and safety as well as being aesthetically pleasing to his eyes. Upon each entry of the room, the doctor often admired the stainless steel upon the ceiling and parts of the walls and the extensive counter space of which he performed all testing of his formulas.



Read this interview on my blog: http://thequeryfaeri...-query-contest/
Follow me on Twitter: @theQueryFaerie

Thanks for reading!

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All the Voices

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 14 April 2014 · 11 views

I'm over at From the Write Angle today talking about infusing your query with your Voice. Hope you'll pop on over and check it out!

Voice is hard to describe yet it's very obvious when it's there ... and when it's not.

I like reading a wide variety of different Voices. I definitely enjoy some Voices I could never emulate or create. I remember reading Erma Bombeck's hilarious accounts of her real life when I was in elementary school. Love her stuff but it's not a style/voice I could ever write.

I like the flowing fantasy style of Tolkien, the literary loveliness of LMM Montgomery, the darkness of so many dystopian writers.

But would my Voice be able to pull off any of these? Nope.

Not yet.

Maybe some day.

What about you? Do you enjoy reading Voices that are very different from your own?

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Tips For Working Sneakers for Ladies

Posted by sasany in sasany's Blog, 13 April 2014 · 48 views
West NYC x Saucony Shadow 500

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The difference among female and male runners is that the former are vulnerable to injuries because the leading element of their legs joins the knee at a greater angle http://www.sauconysh...ony-shadow-5000. Women need to have operating shoes additional to right some issues while in the feet brought on by feet either rolling inwards or outwards. The designer brands that promote working sneakers in excess of common sports activities retailers have gadgets that may enable you to measure and establish in in which your feet will roll West NYC x Saucony Shadow 5000. They may be the a single who'll discover you the perfect operating sneakers to ensure that you might comfortable when working http://www.sauconyshadow5000.com. If your feet collapse inwards, you overpronate; but when outwards you underpornate or supinate. Once you've got established your gait, they are going to obtain you lady sneakers that may fit you, no matter the outcome with the "gait analysis" saucony shadow 5000 tequila sunrise.

Bear in mind however that you just won't straight away get your perfect pair in the to start with try. Check out other pairs until finally you have got found the right one which you can run to with no slipping or the shoe generating wounds. Don hesitate to request the employees to help you out because they know much better than anybody else, plus you could also inquire for advices. Right here are some manufacturers you can visit acquire operating footwear: Nike, Saucony, Mizuno, Brooks and New Stability. They've specific versions dependent on the end result of one's gait examination as well as have excellent client services, so you're able to test them. You are able to still look for other brand names since you'll find lots of merchants that promote operating sneakers especially, so it will be a great deal better to go to a specialist retailer. It truly is great to investigation a lot more on merchants which have beneficial employees and therefore are greater than ready to assist you to with your operating footwear challenges Saucony Shadow 5000 Solebox. You shouldn't be hesitated paying income on working girl shoes due to the fact they're footwear that may assist your entire body while you run. If working is your passion, then it really should also be your passion to order operating sneakers that will make you are feeling fantastic whilst working. As stated above, girls need far more working shoes than me, so get up and run for all those running footwear that youe been dying to have your hands to.

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My Garden, My Muse

  Posted by Rick Pieters in Room to Wonder, 11 April 2014 · 67 views

So, the past couple weeks have been a time of cogitation and clean-up. Time to prepare for the new. New season of growth. New book to write. Hello, Muses?

I'd planned to clean up the back yard, hoping the tree trimmers, who should have come two weeks ago, might have, by now, hacked down the dead secondary trunk of a huge Norway spruce. No such luck.   

So, instead of working in back, I decided to jump into a nasty but necessary job in the front yard. I have a few shrub roses which, if allowed, would grow far too huge for the bed they occupy. They're lovely and decked with wicked thorns.

Now, when I have thinking to do on a project, especially defining characters and outlining plot, I find the garden a great place to do that. If I sit indoors at the computer, I find I'm spending more time thinking about what I should be thinking about. That is, running the hamster wheel. Getting nowhere. But with the intention in mind, if I occupy myself with a manual task, my mind is busy with that and can allow the below-the-surface flow to happen. It's when I don't think about it that, often, the best thinking happens.

What do I mean? Well, those three thorny beauties are sited on a slope, making for unstable footing. Their canes had grown long, thickly entwined, and I tackled them without the bother of walking all the way back to the garage for my gloves.

So, I'm cutting back, hauling out branches, clipping them for the trash barrel, stacking them, pushing them down. I'm sure my blaspheming could be heard next door (it's okay, my neighbors are cool) as those branches lacerated my hands, while the possible antagonist(s) simmered.

I don't know. Maybe it was the satisfaction of taming the bobcats. Seeing the bushes trimmed down and my hands scratched and bleeding. But something popped about that antagonist.

By taking my mind off it, I'd allowed my mind to work on it, on its own.

Not to say who the apparent antagonist will be. What changed for me, what I realized, was that I'd been looking at it from the wrong place. Since this will follow from the book already done, which is a science-fantasy, the real bad guys are . . . well I can't really give that away, now can I? But I'll say that they use and manipulate the apparent bad guys. The active, if not actual, antagonist(s).

So, instead of my wondering which characters should go rogue, I realized that I should let the real bad guys decide. I'm sure they'd be far more ruthless than I would want to be. They might go after someone I like too much to turn evil. Bad for the character. Better for the story.

With the intention in my mind but not in my focus, doing a job I'd not planned to do, which left me scratched and bleeding, something gelled.

Somewhere, I think it was the Book of Runes, I read that one should not be the farmer who goes into his fields and pulls on the crops to make them grow faster. Just keep doing the work.

The intention is there. If it's pulled on constantly, it's not going to grow faster. Sort of like browbeating the muses. It seems the more I demand, the more they remain silent, or wait for my silence to speak.

It was by letting it go that it came around. I can hardly wait to see who those bad guys choose. I already have a good idea.
I'd love to hear how you court the Muses without browbeating them into silence. Making chocolate chip cookies? Steam-of-consiousness writing? Gardening seems to work with mine. How about yours?

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Fan Art for Blueberry Springs

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Love Bug Blog, 10 April 2014 · 27 views

<p>Cool things are happening!</p>
<p><strong>Quick writing update from Jean Oram:</strong> I have finished the first Summer Sisters book, <em>Love and Rumors</em>, and it is out for critiques before another editing pass by me and then going out for professional edits. This book will be released this summer. Book 2 is almost a third written and will also be out this summer as well. Wahoo!</p>
<p><strong>Have you read the Blueberry Springs series? Are you in NEED of a signed paperback of <em>Champagne and Lemon Drops</em>?</strong></p>
<p>Check this out!</p>
<h4>Party Time!</h4>
<p>This Sunday on Facebook, the woman who made the beautiful keychains and other one-of-a-kind Blueberry Springs items for my launch parties is holding a Lupus fundraiser.</p>
<div id="attachment_708" style="width: 486px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="http://www.jeanoram....ush).</p></div>
<p>You can help Denise spread the word about Lupus as well as with her fundraiser by joining the party on Facebook: <a title="Join the party for a chance to win!" href="https://www.facebook...2877627996/</a> or by purchasing a <a title="Beautiful Lupus t-shirt. Help the cuase and look good!" href="http://www.tfund.com/deniselupusevent" target="_blank">beautiful t-shirt here</a>.</p>
<p>Please note, I will also be donating a signed paperback of Champagne and Lemon Drops during the party! So be sure to pop by. (Open internationally.)</p>
<h4>Blueberry Springs Fan Art</h4>
<p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/oQucOJv6S0Q" height="315" width="420" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0"></iframe></p>
<p>This video was made for me by June Foster as a thank you for supporting Denise’s party mentioned above. Thank you June!! It’s wonderful.</p>
<div id="attachment_707" style="width: 702px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="http://www.jeanoram.... A.B.</p></div>
<p>Welcome to Blueberry Springs! A special thank you to Jane A. Bowen for creating this fun Blueberry Springs image. I love the population sign.</p>
<p><em><strong>Do you have Blueberry Springs fan art you’d like to share? A poem? Drawing? Image? Favourite quote? Video? Share it with me and be featured on my blog!</strong> <strong>Thanks for reading.</strong></em></p>
<p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Note:</strong> </span>For those waiting for <em>Rum and Raindrops</em> on iTunes…yeah, I broke something BIG at iTunes this time. My book is currently set at the highest priority for fixing the mystery problem…and so we wait. My apologies for breaking iTunes and creating a delay. I’ll let you know when the book is out on iTunes. Thank you for your patience. In the meantime, <a title="Rum and Raindrops" href="http://www.jeanoram....tforms</a>.</p>
<p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.jeanoram....n Oram</a>.</p>

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