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THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES ARC Giveaway!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 14 March 2016 · 80 views

ARCs of THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES arrived at my house Saturday morning, and I'm ready to give one to you! Enter to win in the Rafflecopter below.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1455917180l/25812109.jpg"]https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1455917180l/25812109.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="640" [url="src="]src="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1455917180l/25812109.jpg"[/url] width="422" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i>Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.</i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i>While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.</i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i>But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.</i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i>So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.</i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i>Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever. Acclaimed author Mindy McGinnis artfully crafts three alternating perspectives into a dark and riveting exploration of what it means to be the female of the species.</i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b174" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b174/"[/url] id="rcwidget_cswjhn6n" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script>[/url]

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-female-of-species-arc-giveaway.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-female-of-species-arc-giveaway.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 12 March 2016 · 68 views

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://rclewisbooks.com/"]http://rclewisbooks.com/[/url]" target="_blank">RC Lewis</a>&nbsp;and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet,&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/p/query-critiques.html">shoot[/url] us an email</a>.<br /><br /><a [url="href="]href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s400/NewestSatSlash.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s320/NewestSatSlash.jpg"[/url] width="247" /></a>We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to&nbsp;punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.<br /><br />If you're looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://www.agentqueryconnect.com/"[/url] target="_blank">AgentQueryConnect</a>. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don't be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey - the query. My comments appear in&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">green</span>.<br /><br />In the lands of Terra Dira, it is a time of courage and treachery, a world of fear and unrest, it is the age of wolfborn. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">This isn't much of a hook. To you it&nbsp;resonates, because this is your world. To anyone unassociated it it sounds like a voiceover for a video game.</span><br /><br />Nineteen-year-old Shiro Volk is wolfborn. He has the body of a man, but the soul of a wolf. And with the power of the moon, he can transform into a deadly humanoid wolf. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">So, are you avoiding using the word "werewolf?" I understand that you don't want to be seen as using a trope but at the&nbsp;same time you can't&nbsp;disguise the fact that's basically what this is. Go ahead and&nbsp;embrace it.&nbsp;</span>Long ago, the wolfborn forged an alliance with the kingdom of Starfall, vowing to guard the kingdom from invaders in exchange for having their lives free of persecution. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">This is all fine, but I&nbsp;don't know&nbsp;much about setting</span><br /><br />When Shiro’s father takes in his three orphaned cousins, he assures them the kingdom of Starfall is unlike their former home in Tymeria, where Paladins freely hunt wolfborn and other non-human races. But time has made the wolfborn feared for the same reason they were loved during times of war: They are superior warriors. And beneath the growing cloud of anti-nonhuman sentiment, tensions between the Paladins and the wolfborn are reaching a boiling point. <br /><br />Amid assassinations, rebellions, betrayals, and internal family conflicts, the fate of Shiro, his family, and his friends hang perilously in the balance, as each is forced to make impossible decisions. Decisions that will affect both their lives and perhaps all of Terra Dira. One thing is certain – survival is impossible without staining hands with blood. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Good stinger here.</span><br /><br />Told through several alternating viewpoints, WOLFBORN is a New Adult Fantasy novel of 95,000 words with a George R. R. Martin-esque narrative and a unique twist on the werewolf genre. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Is it New Adult because of the age of the MC alone, or because of content? NA (in general) means that there is&nbsp;more sexual content than in YA. If that isn't the case, go ahead and age him down and call it YA.</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">This query is well&nbsp;written but here's the thing - I have no idea what this book is about. Werewolves, a kingdom that used to be a good&nbsp;place to live but now isn't b/c&nbsp;they aren't needed anymore... except, aren't they? If there's assassinations, rebellions, and what sounds like&nbsp;political unrest in&nbsp;general, aren't these super&nbsp;warriors needed for&nbsp;something? I don't understand what the <i>impossible decisions</i> that <i>could affect all of Terra Dira</i>, etc are when I don't&nbsp;have a&nbsp;grip on what the&nbsp;actual plot revolves around other&nbsp;than vague "troubles."</span>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-saturday-slash_12.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-saturday-slash_12.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Thursday Thoughts

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 10 March 2016 · 74 views

Thoughts lately...<br /><br />1) We use the term <i>cradle robber</i> for someone dating a person much younger than them, and <i>gold digger</i> for someone (usually) dating someone much older than them, but <i>grave robber</i> for someone who digs up dead people looking for jewelry. Wouldn't it make more sense to switch the last two?<br /><br />2) Ever notice that all the people in the ads for depression medication and / or counseling are really good looking? That doesn't help, people.<br /><br />3) The people in the STD med ads are also really attractive. Where are all the wince-inducing pics from high school health class?

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2016/03/thursday-thoughts_10.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2016/03/thursday-thoughts_10.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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MarcyKate Connolly On Switching Gears In Between Projects

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 08 March 2016 · 85 views

Whether you’re under contract or trying to snag another deal, you’re a professional now, with the pressures of a published novelist compounded with the still-present nagging self-doubt of the noobie. How to deal?<br /><br /><a href="[url="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-xS8Ajpqk5Ak/VKNUh9LQ6KI/AAAAAAAAC5o/QXCnuVBx9VI/s1600/Colombo_121014_1942-Edit.jpg"]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-xS8Ajpqk5Ak/VKNUh9LQ6KI/AAAAAAAAC5o/QXCnuVBx9VI/s1600/Colombo_121014_1942-Edit.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-xS8Ajpqk5Ak/VKNUh9LQ6KI/AAAAAAAAC5o/QXCnuVBx9VI/s1600/Colombo_121014_1942-Edit.jpg"[/url] /></a>Today's guest for the SNOB is <a [url="href="]href="http://www.marcykate.com/">MarcyKate[/url] Connolly,</a> author of the MG titles <a [url="href="]href="http://www.marcykate.com/books/monstrous/">MONSTROUS</a>[/url] and <a [url="href="]href="http://www.marcykate.com/books/ravenous/">RAVENOUS</a>,[/url] available from HarperChildrens. MarcyKate has written poetry as long as she can remember, and began her first full-length novel in 2008. Since then she's completed many other novels including MONSTROUS (Upper MG Fantasy, Frankenstein meets the Brothers Grimm) and have several others languishing in various states of incompletion and disarray.<br /><br /><b>Is it hard to leave behind the first novel and focus on the second?</b><br /><br /><i>It definitely can be. You spend so much time writing, revising, and planning for the launch of book #1, that when it’s finally accepted as “done” switching gears can be tricky. However, in my case I think the fact that my second book was a companion novel set in the same world and involving some of the same characters made that transition easier than it might have been if both books were completely unrelated standalones.</i><br /><br /><b>At what point do you start diverting your energies from promoting your debut and writing / polishing / editing your second?</b><br /><br /><i>You don’t (or at least, I didn’t) and that’s what makes it tricky. Once the editing on that first book is complete, you need to start writing the second. And at the same time, you also need to plan and begin to carry out promotion for the first book. Unless your books are slated to be published more than a year apart, chances are you’ll be doing those things concurrently. It can be hard to balance, but it certainly keeps you busy :) I found using a project management tool to be very helpful in keeping me on track with all the tasks I had for both writing/editing and promotion.</i><br /><br /><b>Your first book landed an agent and an editor, and hopefully some fans. Who are you writing the second one for? Them, or yourself?</b><br /><br /><i>All of the above! Which is pretty weird (also awesome). When you’re writing the first book the only real expectations are coming from yourself. But now that the book is out there, your agent and editor have professional expectations of you, and your fans have expectations for the next book too. It’s both wonderful and stressful.</i><br /><br /><i>It can be hard to do, but the best advice I’d have is to try to tune all that out as best you can. I would have psyched myself out if I’d been focused on writing for someone else. For me, the key was to keep writing the book I wanted to write. If I hadn’t loved the book and the characters and their journey, it would have been a lot more difficult. Also, having a great team of people to work with at HarperCollins certainly helped a ton!</i><br /><br /><b>Is there a new balance of time management to address once you’re a professional author?</b><br /><br /><i>Definitely! I thoroughly underestimated the amount of time I would end up spending on emails, let alone everything else. Again, investing in a good To Do list app or project management tool is what really helped me. (If you’re looking for a recommendation, I use the free version of Zoho Projects – it also has an iPhone app).</i><br /><br /><i>It takes some trial and error to determine how much you can reasonably take on, and I definitely took on more than I probably should have with the first book, but that gave me a more realistic idea of what I could accomplish the second time around. Basically, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it right on the first book. Just do the best you can.</i><br /><br /><b>What did you do differently the second time around, with the perspective of a published author?</b><br /><br /><i>With editing I had a much better idea of what to expect and of what red flags my editors would be looking out for when I was writing my second book. That meant my first edit letter on Ravenous was only 8 pages instead of the 20 page edit letter I got for Monstrous. I learned from the initial experience (thankfully!) and grew as a writer.</i><br /><br /><i>When it came time to promote, I made a more realistic plan for myself. I adore blogs and bloggers, but I found that outreach directly to librarians, teachers, and booksellers was more effective for my particular books, so I added in more of that and fewer guest posts. I cut a couple other things I did for Monstrous that saw no returns (press releases, for example) and expanded some of the things that were effective (for example, personalized packets to local librarians). Really, the key for me is to be flexible and chalk up things that don’t work as well as you’d hoped as learning experiences. :)</i><br /><div><br /></div>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2016/03/marcykate-connolly-on-switching-gears.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2016/03/marcykate-connolly-on-switching-gears.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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The Freedom of Fantasy

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 07 March 2016 · 70 views

If you're a faithful reader it's pretty obvious to you by now that I'm a genre jumper. My first two novels were post-apocalyptic, the third a historical, my upcoming fourth novel <a href="[url="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25812109-the-female-of-the-species"]https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25812109-the-female-of-the-species[/url]">THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES</a> is a contemporary. Hot on the heels of that - coming from Putnam/Penguin in April of 2017 - will be the first in my fantasy series, <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25314447-given-to-the-sea">GIVEN[/url] TO THE SEA</a>.<br /><br />Any author, regardless of genre, will tell you that every novel presents its own unique issues. When I felt the tiny seeds that were to become my fantasy series starting to bud in my mind, I was ecstatic. I'd just come off of writing <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24376529-a-madness-so-discreet">A[/url] MADNESS SO DISCREET</a> which came about after nearly two years of research, followed by a frantic writing period that nearly killed me.<br /><br />I thought writing a fantasy was just what I needed. No rules. No boundaries. No having to worry what type of lighting would be in use in 1890 so that <i>one</i> person could correct me on it. No more ten minutes of research before finishing a sentence because I need to know what a cop would have been called in 1890 in Boston.<br /><br />Pure freedom. Or so I thought.<br /><br />Instead what I discovered is what Janis Joplin could have told me a long time ago. Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose. Or, in my case... freedom's just another word where nothing is assumed.<br /><br />Yep. That's the catch with fantasy. If I'm writing a contemporary and I tell you that my main character goes to a wealthy private school, that's all I need to say. You know what that school looks like. You know what her house probably looks like. You have a good idea of her culture without me saying much more than that.<br /><br />If I tell you that my main character in fantasy is the Given, you're like, "Cool... um, what?"<br /><br />So I have to explain that. And underneath her role as the Given lies an entire cultural mindset which the reader is entirely unfamiliar with. Yes, I get to create my own world and make my own rules, but I also have to paint it for you, and - even more difficult - sell it to you. I can't rely on any assumptions because this is an entirely new world for the reader, even if I have been inhabiting it for quite some time in my own mind.<br /><br />I've been working on GIVEN TO THE SEA for over a year now, and it's consumed me in an entirely different way than any of my other books have. Yes, there's freedom in fantasy - one that I've been enjoying a lot. But there's also a lot of responsibility and heavy lifting in the world building.<br /><br />Here's hoping I got it right.

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-freedom-of-fantasy.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-freedom-of-fantasy.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 05 March 2016 · 67 views

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://rclewisbooks.com/"]http://rclewisbooks.com/[/url]" target="_blank">RC Lewis</a>&nbsp;and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet,&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/p/query-critiques.html">shoot[/url] us an email</a>.<br /><br /><a [url="href="]href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s400/NewestSatSlash.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s320/NewestSatSlash.jpg"[/url] width="247" /></a>We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to&nbsp;punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.<br /><br />If you're looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://www.agentqueryconnect.com/"[/url] target="_blank">AgentQueryConnect</a>. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don't be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey - the query. My comments appear in&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">green</span>.<br /><br />Seventeen-year-old horror fanboy Cain Shannon thought helping a ghost track down her killers would be the supernatural adventure of a lifetime. Now, he just hopes to stay alive long enough to protect his family and friends from her. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Oh goodness, I'm definitely liking the sound of&nbsp;this.</span><br /><br />After agreeing to help Sarah, the ghost of a <strike>recently missing</strike>&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">I'd cut these words as not terribly&nbsp;relevant, they're adding to a convoluted sentence&nbsp;</span>teen<strike>age</strike> <strike>girl</strike>&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">gender implied by her name</span>, find those responsible for her death, Cain’s life takes a strange turn – he begins having blackouts and acting out of character. Only comfortable being the center of attention on a soccer field, Cain has a very public breakup with his diva girlfriend—something he actually wanted to do, but not with an audience. &nbsp;Then he finds himself stalking football players - natural born enemies of soccer players. Finally, he realizes Sarah has been hijacking his body for her own twisted scheme. Terrified of what could have happened while he wasn't in control, he immediately commands her to leave his house.<br /><br />But Sarah has no intention of going anywhere and adds Cain to her hit list. The use of Cain’s body increased Sarah’s power, and she retaliates against her alleged killers in bloody, horrific ways, each<br />death making her stronger. With the help of his friends, Cain seeks protection for himself and those he cares about, while searching for a way to rid himself of Sarah and stop her before she kills again.<br /><br />MALEVOLENT RETRIBUTION is a YA horror novel, complete at 62,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Okay, this actually looks&nbsp;really good. The one thing I'll mention is that you might want to include details that will&nbsp;make this stand out. Right now&nbsp;it's a bit trope-y, ghost seeks retribution, deal with the devil doesn't go quite as planned, possession, etc. What about your book is different from any other stories&nbsp;that utilize these same elements? Get that in the query - you&nbsp;know how to write one, now write one that specifically&nbsp;lays out what makes your story&nbsp;different.&nbsp;</span>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-saturday-slash.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-saturday-slash.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: LIES I LIVE BY by Lauren Sabel

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 04 March 2016 · 54 views

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won't find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could've been better or what worked or didn't work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it's here I probably think it won't injure your brain if you read it.<br /><br /><a href="[url="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1455502734l/26242314.jpg"]https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1455502734l/26242314.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1455502734l/26242314.jpg"[/url] width="211" /></a>Callie Sinclair is the youngest covert CIA operative in a special program so secret, her own mom doesn't know about it. Every day she goes to school, sees her boyfriend, does her best to be normal, then heads to a nondescript building where she goes out of her mind - literally. Callie is a psychic who can use remote viewing to see what's happening anywhere in the world. Her mentor hands her an envelope with coordinates and she reports back what she sees going on there.<br /><br />Her job is only to view and report. Callie is not to infer or try to piece together anything other than what she actually sees. But when her sessions start to become more violent, Callie has a hard time disassociating herself from images of bodies burned by gas explosions, or children swept away in tsunamis.<br /><br />Her new partner, Jasper, can do more than view - he can also affect what's going on when he does. And his abilities aren't the only thing impressive about him. Jasper is cute, funny, and understands her in a way that her "normal" boyfriend never will. As her sessions become more frightening, Callie questions what impact she can have on future events - and what lies she's willing to keep telling to those she loves to keep them safe.<br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b173" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b173/"[/url] id="rcwidget_5dagnby8" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script>[/url]

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2016/03/book-talk-arc-giveaway-lies-i-live-by.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2016/03/book-talk-arc-giveaway-lies-i-live-by.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Thursday Thoughts

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 03 March 2016 · 67 views

1) Why is evaporated milk still a liquid?<br /><br />2) I started knitting a sweater for Boyfriend when we first started dating, and it was way too big. I had to unravel it and start again. I tried again, made a stupid mistake, unraveled it, started again. I'm almost done with the third attempt... nine years later. Basically I'm Penelope and he is Odysseus.<br /><br />3) If you cut an earthworm in half and it regenerates, can the two parts then meet up at a later date and have a baby earthworm together? Is this incest, or youcest?<br /><br />

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2016/03/thursday-thoughts.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2016/03/thursday-thoughts.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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SKY JUMPERS Author Peggy Eddleman On Building Plot

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 01 March 2016 · 68 views

Inspiration is a funny thing. It can come to us like a lightning bolt, through the lyrics of a song, or in the fog of a dream. Ask any writer where their stories come from and you’ll get a myriad of answers, and in that vein I created the WHAT (What the Hell Are you Thinking?) interview. Always including in the WHAT is one random question to really dig down into the interviewees mind, and probably supply some illumination into my own as well.<br /><br />Today's guest for the WHAT is fellow League of Extraordinary Writers member Peggy Eddleman, author of the MG series <a href="[url="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16718344-sky-jumpers"]https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16718344-sky-jumpers[/url]">SKY JUMPERS</a>, the first of which is a Texas BlueBonnet nominee this year.<br /><br /><a [url="href="]href="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1379033155l/16718344.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1379033155l/16718344.jpg"[/url] width="211" /></a><b>Ideas for our books can come from just about anywhere, and sometimes even we can’t pinpoint exactly how or why. Did you have a specific origin point for your book?</b><br /><br /><i>I had a very specific origin point for Sky Jumpers. I was on an airplane, sitting by the window, staring out at the wrong side of the clouds for 3 ½ hours, imagining how fun it would be if I could jump into those clouds and have them slow my fall, then set me more gently on the ground. It was an idea that was so exciting to me, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So I started asking myself more questions about it.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><i>Like What could’ve happened to our world to make a fifteen foot thick layer of air that was dense enough that if you went above it and jumped into it, it would slow your fall?&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><i>Then I asked, What if, instead of looking like clouds, how would things change if it was invisible?&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><i>And then, the question that changed the story the most—What if that air was also deadly? Because if it was deadly, not only would it change how people felt about it, but it would become more of a player in the story. Something to cause more conflict.</i><br /><br /><b>Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?</b><br /><br /><i>It was actually figuring out the setting that led to the plot. I’d decided that I wanted a post-apocalyptic world, 40 years after the green bombs of World War III wiped out nearly all the population and all of technology. So when I thought about where to have Sky Jumpers take place, I chose the open plains in Nebraska—a place where the landscape would’ve been as barren as the population. But they needed to be near mountains to be close to the Bomb’s Breath, so I put their town inside one of the massive craters left behind by one of the green bombs. I realized how safe and protected they’d feel there. After all, they had the Bomb’s Breath above them to stop any bandits from coming over the mountain and into their town. And if they felt all nice and safe and protected, of course I had to threaten that security. And that’s when the plot was born.</i><br /><br /><b>Have you ever had the plot firmly in place, only to find it changing as the story moved from your mind to paper?</b><br /><br /><i>I plot the main story points, and those don’t change. I never plot out how they are actually going to get to those points, because that’s when the magic happens. I have to get into the story—really be working closely with it during drafting—to figure out all the details that can only be figured out when you’re that intimate with the story.</i><br /><br /><b>Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?</b><br /><br /><i>Fragments of ideas come to me all the time—things about characters, setting, plot, random ideas, inciting incidents, concepts. I put them into an ideas file to look at later. Ideas that quickly morph into a full story idea come much less frequently.</i><br /><br /><b>How do you choose which story to write next, if you’ve got more than one percolating?</b><br /><br /><i>Many times, when I’m ready to start a new story, I’ll go through my idea folder and just let things bounce around until one awesome idea collides with another and then another until a story begins to take shape. Usually more than one story starts to get enough ideas colliding that I have to stop and decide which to write. I start fleshing out both (or all three or four) stories and writing synopses along with random idea parts. When one starts to really grab me more than another, and I find myself thinking about it the most, that’s when I stick with it and start developing it even further.</i><br /><br /><b>When it comes to naming characters, I just rest my hands and let them tell me what their names are. What’s your process?</b><br /><br /><i>I do that sometimes, too! Other times the right name doesn’t just come. I have a names document that I add to whenever I come across a name that really speaks to me in some way. It has hundreds of names now. When I’m naming a new character, I go to that file first. Many times, I find just what I’m looking for. When I don’t, I usually have a sense of what letter their name starts with, so I look at online baby name books, starting with that letter.</i><br /><div><br /></div>

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The Power of Perseverance

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 29 February 2016 · 65 views

Seventeen years ago I was sitting in my college dorm, fuming at the world because I thought I could write a better book than the one I had just finished reading for class (FYI - I couldn't. Trust me. That first novel of mine is pure stink). A seed had been planted a few months earlier by a true crime show I'd caught on cable - college was my first experience outside of network TV - so I said, "Screw it, Mindy. Write the damn book already."<br /><br />Fifteen years ago I was working part time in retail (at a Hallmark, if you can picture it), reading Euripides on my lunch break and jotting down notes on the Furies as sidebars to a project I'd been reworking, revising, and revamping since my sophomore year in college, titled THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES.<br /><br />Thirteen years ago I took a job at a high school library, having amassed literally hundreds of rejections for that novel, a handful for the second novel I'd finished, and a deep familiarity with the guy at the Post Office who had patience with me while he weighed my sample pages and put the right postage on my SASE (you old dogs will know what that means).<br /><br />At the time I didn't know if I would be able to work forty a week and still write, but I wanted to. When I moved into my new office I printed out a copy of the Rudyard Kipling poem "The Female Of The Species," from which I'd taken the title of my first novel, and hung it on the wall facing my desk. It was a reminder to persevere, that even though work was done at three I might not be, and that there was something more I wanted to do with my life.<br /><br />Over time little notes started decorating that wall as well, things I'd jotted down to remind me how to run certain reports, where the I Spy books were on the Dewey, little notes from students, senior pictures, and random things smaller kids would gift me that they found on the floor. My Kipling poem wasn't the only thing on the wall anymore - in fact, it was becoming an overshadowed lower layer. But it was still there, and I still saw it.<br /><br />Last week the dust jackets for my next release showed up at my house. THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES releases on September 20th, 2016, seventeen years after the idea first occurred to me. The manuscript that you'll see on the shelves bears little to no resemblance to that first draft - and that's a good thing - but the concept and characters have been true to themselves.<br /><br />So whatever the book of your heart is find a way to put it in your line of sight every day, as a reminder that there's something more you aspire to.<br /><br />Then make time for it.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-DA_gjvTH8Gc/VtRSRO__42I/AAAAAAAADeY/vbFGIDds54s/s1600/SPECIES.JPG"]https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-DA_gjvTH8Gc/VtRSRO__42I/AAAAAAAADeY/vbFGIDds54s/s1600/SPECIES.JPG[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" [url="src="]src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-DA_gjvTH8Gc/VtRSRO__42I/AAAAAAAADeY/vbFGIDds54s/s400/SPECIES.JPG"[/url] width="332" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-a6Oh7BFP3k4/VtRUKi7UfwI/AAAAAAAADek/4ft3k2D4pL0/s1600/FullSizeRender.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="300" [url="src="]src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-a6Oh7BFP3k4/VtRUKi7UfwI/AAAAAAAADek/4ft3k2D4pL0/s400/FullSizeRender.jpg"[/url] width="400" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><br />

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