Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Writers Wednesday: Inspiration

Everyone drives inspiration from somewhere.  Whether for writing, painting, architecture, or any other creative outlet. There is always an idea hovering around to be plucked and used in some other form.

So here is my idea for my writing friends.  Take what inspiration you usually feed your muse with, and put it away.  Now look for something different.  An old building crumbling from years of neglect, it has a story waiting to be told.  How about a old history lesson.  You heard about all the wars of the world, every living creature had a story through it.  Look for something different then your normal go-to.

Here's a link for 31 ways to find Inspiration.
and a link to some more links cause sometimes surfing the web is the way to go.

Life is a very diverse thing, and so too are we.

He told me that he wanted to hold the world in his hands. I thought that was silly when whoever controls the sun controls not just this world but all that are near it.

Where do you get your inspiration from? Could you move to something else and still have your muse dancing on your shoulder? I wold love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Sally Franklin Christie

It's another Friday with a Blog Ring of Power Interview.  Today I have the privilege to welcome Sally Franklin Christie to the Realm. Hi Sally! 

To see the rest of her 5 part interview, don't forget to check out the rest of the ring.

Part 1 with Terri Bruce
Part 2 with T.W. Fendley
Part 3 is here with me... but you knew that.
and to wrap things up Part 5 will be with D.C. Rich

Sally Franklin Christie has spent her life achieving incredibly average goals. Her challenges and choices have led to into the world of organizing for social change,civil rights and helping people navigate in a world filled with physical barriers and discrimination.  She photographs and paints landscapes,when she isn’t at the computer researching,networking and writing. Special interests include Missing Children and Adults,Astronomy,Character Traits and Criminal Thinking. 

Lets talk about Sally's Creative Process

BRoP:  Where do you get your story ideas?

Sally:  Newspapers are great places to find a story idea.  Some of the most ridiculous or unforeseen things make it into the paper.  My favorite – Woman Gets Arm Bit Off By Taper.  Now how did she end up in a situation like that?  What was her life like the days before this event?  Does she have kids?  Why was she there?  What is her recovery going to be like?  Is she young?  A grandmother?  Artist?  Climber?  How will this change her life?  Ideas are everywhere I look.  Ideas are in overheard conversations at the checkout.  Ideas are walking around the parking lot with carts overloaded with paper towels.  Ideas pass by on bicycles.

BRoP: Do you have a specific writing style?

Sally:  I try to give a certain lightness to my writing, even when the world seems hopeless to my characters.  I have a skewed view of the world and I hope it shows in my writing.

BRoP:  How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

Sally:  I keep files on my characters.  I know their back stories.  I interview them at different points in a story to see if they are in touch with the plot.  Some of them have very different ideas of what is going on.  I like to have six major scenes in mind or written before I bridge them together in the first draft.  Except in November when I write by the seat of my pants.

BRoP:  Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser” (do you plan/outline the story ahead of time or write “by the seat of your pants”)?

Sally:  Pretty much the same as above.

BRoP:  How much time do you spend on research? What type of research do you do?

Sally:  I love to research.  Would you like me to do a little brain surgery?  Do you want the inside story on the costs and ease of acquiring the contents of a pipe bomb?  I do have to work on stopping when it comes to research.

BRoP:  Is there anything you find particularly challenging to write?

Sally:  I cannot write a sex scene to save my life.  The idea is so upsetting that I renamed them ‘doorknob’ scenes.  My biggest failure as a writer is the way my mind and fingers freeze up at the thought of bringing such personal and gloopy situations to an empty page.

So where can you find Sally... Um, I'm not telling! I'm keeping it to myself.  

Ok ok I'll tell you

Blog:     Life is a Story – Tell it Big
Other:  Buy Links for Milk Carton People and Buy Links for If I Should Die
Is your book in print, ebook or both?
Both are available in e-format and print.  

Caught Between the Quick and the Dead.
Milk Carton People is a paranormal thriller about people who suddenly find themselves invisible, able to observe things but unable to participate. Do they go mad? Maybe they find others. It is quite possible that there is no point in being invisible. This is a book that plays on the very thin line of sanity and pure despair. The characters act and react to the new challenges and the reader gets to go along for the ride.
“Some of them are never found, you know.”
“I wonder how many people out there have figured out they can do this?”
“We’ve been waiting for you.”
I’m going to wake up, now, and go about my day with my cup
of coffee. By the time I get to work, the whole thing will disappear
like all dreams. I won’t even remember it.
She turned away from the little tree and took a few steps down
the sidewalk. She intended to turn back toward the book store
again, to somehow retake control of her destiny. As if turning
back would give everyone one more chance to tell her it was all in
fun and she was such a good sport.
Just then, a woman in an electric blue colored coat, walked
right into her.
“Excuse, me,” Ruth began and stopped speechless. For one
long, drawn out, slow motion, nightmare second, her vision was
obscured by a brownish red filter which blurred everything before
her. She felt hot, sticky, and confined. A cloying odor of spoiled
hamburger made her gasp for clean air. She tasted copper pennies
in her mouth. At the same time Ruth heard a gurgling noise and
a squeak and as the whole event suddenly ended she heard a plop
like pudding falling from a spoon back into the bowl.
A sudden cold sweat competed with stomach acid lurching
into her throat. Ruth swallowed it back and turned to watch as
the woman in electric blue continued walking down the sidewalk
without breaking stride. Ruth watched the woman in the electric
blue coat disappear around the corner.
“No,” Ruth said aloud with authority. “No,” she repeated.
She walked to the nearest building and stood close to the cold bricks in the shadows.
I have to go home.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Blog Ring of Power Presents: Pauline Baird Jones

Today on the Blog Ring of Power I'm excited to welcome Pauline Baird Jones.  She's here to talk about The Writing Life, and I love her answers.  To find the rest of her progressive interview, don't forget to stop by all the other Blog Ring of Power sites.

Pauline Baird Jones began her writing career penning romantic suspense (fictional murder doesn’t get you strip searched!) but she had a secret longing to ramp up the spills, chills and daring do.  By chance she wrote a science fiction romance, realized she’d been mixing fiction into her science since high school (oops, sorry science teachers!), and thought, why not go where she hasn’t gone before? After that, it was easy to stir in some steampunk. The Key was the first in her Project Enterprise series, which will conclude with #6, Kicking Ashe

BRoP:  What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine? Do you use pen and paper or computer? Work at home or at the library/Starbucks, etc.

Pauline:  I did mention I commit random of acts of writing in the previous post, so hopefully it wont be a terrible shock to learn that bleeds into my process, too. I have a sort of regular routine, in that I am at my desk fairly promptly in the morning. I read email and do my promotion due diligence, then face the blank computer screen. Since I write by the seat of my pants, my process involves lots of pacing and thinking and mulling. I don't use pen and paper because I can't read my handwriting anymore. Only once have I tried to write away from home. I had a deadline and lots of drama at home, so I went to La Madeline's Bakery and worked for several hours for several days. Not my favorite way to do things, but I was able to get a lot accomplished in a short time. 

But for me to create I need:

* quiet
* access to Diet Dr Pepper
* access to a bathroom (see above)
* chocolate
* my desktop or lap top
* a way to listen to my playlist (I create one for each book)

BRoP:  How do you balance writing with other aspects of your life?

Pauline:  Rather like a bad juggler. I drop things, then scramble to pick them up. It is a good thing I work with a small press, a small, VERY UNDERSTANDING press. 

BRoP:  When do you write?

Pauline:  When my kids were home, I used to write late evening or morning after they were in school. Now that I'm an empty nester, I work from mid-morning to late afternoon. Generally, I do that four days a week. When under the gun, I will work six days a week, but I always rest on Sundays. 

BRoP:  What has been the most surprising reaction to something you’ve written?

Pauline:  My editor told me that STEAMROLLED was just crazy, but I made it all seem so logical. I was surprised, because I thought she'd just tell me it was crazy. LOL!

BRoP:  What is the strongest criticism you’ve ever received as an author? The best compliment?

Pauline:  A reviewer once said that THE SPY WHO KISSED ME was too funny. And the best compliment was another reviewer saying I write great humor. LOL! Writing humor is always risky, because not every reader will get your sense of humor, so I wasn't too thrown, or puffed, by either assessment. 

Criticism is interesting. When I was a newly minted, published author, I think I remembered the criticism more easily than the praise. Now, well, I can't say I don't feel the hit of criticism, but I don't have time to wallow in it. I have too much to do. I use the praise to fuel my creativity and try to learn and get better from valid criticism. And if the criticism is from my beta readers, well, that is value added to my process. A wise friend once told me that good criticism makes us want to fix our work, while bad advice makes us feel discouraged. That's helped me so much in evaluating how helpful the critique. 

BRoP:  How do you deal with rejection and/or negative reviews?

Pauline:  I am fortunate that I don't have to deal with much rejection, now that I work almost exclusively with a small press. That's rather nice. Perhaps some people can just shrug it all off. I feel the hit of either rejection or negative review, but try to make them glancing blows, rather than the body blows they were when I was first starting out. I had to learn not to give power to the negative in my life. Its easier now, because I just don't have time for it. As I type this, I've been lucky that my latest release has, so far, garnered only positive reviews. I won't say it isn't grand to have the first ones be good, because I know they can't all be good. But its always nice to have some positive out there to pit against the negative.  

With hearts and lives on the line, a kiss may be all they have time for…
Time has dumped Ashe on a dying planet and she needs to figure out why before she ceases to exist. Or gets vivisected by some Keltinarian scientists. Or worse.
Vidor Shan might help—since someone somewhere is trying to hose him, too—if she can convince him to trust her. Probably shouldn’t have told him that only someone he trusts can betray him. Also wouldn’t mind if he kissed her on the mouth.
Vid would love to kiss the girl, but his brother is lost, he’s got hostile aliens on his tail, and the stench of betrayal all around him. Can he trust the woman who told him to trust no one?
Then a time quake hurls them to a nasty somewhere and some when…

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Writers Wednesday: An Authors Greatest Tools

We need our computer, some paper and pens, or some nifty software so that we can organize the craziness of our books. With all these things, our greatest tools may be overlooked. What are they you ask... go ahead ask.

I'll tell you what they are (IMHO)

Critique partners, Beta readers, and Editors.

Yes, your greatest tools as a writer are those people who take time out of their lives to hack and slash your baby into little red filled pages of suffering.  They are the reason we writers need to have thicker skin than a killer whale. They are also the reason why the successful author's books get read, and read and read over again.

It's common knowledge that as a writer we get so involved with our babies, so much care taken to make every word choice perfect, that we don't see the blaring black holes in our plot, or the grossly overused metaphor that needs to go. We need those extra set of eyes to point out the flaws.

So what is the difference between these three things? Um one gets paid?  Yes and no.  LOL

Critique partners, are writers, just like ourselves.  They know the work it takes to turn our imagination into a story for all to read. Those great and powerful people look at your work, tear it to shreds and when it's all said and done, do it over and over and over again.  It's important that you don't mind, the more red you see when your work comes back, the more you can improve yourself in the art.

Remember Critique partners are your partners, it gives good karma to do the same for them. Remember not to be spiteful of their work if the last critique you got from them was particularly harsh.  They are only trying to help and you should do the same.
Pic taken from Cindy Thomas' blog, check out her thoughts and a great breakdown on Crit partners.

Also, you don't want a Crit-partner that you don't get along with. It is your baby they are marking up after all.  You need some one you can trust to give you full truthful notes that can help you grow.  Without them, many, if not all authors would be sending out a manuscript that just doesn't have the impact it could have.

My biggest advice for crit-partners is: you need to have many.  Some people can have an opinion on your work, but without a group telling you the same thing, how do you really know if a scene doesn't work? It could just not work for that particular person.

My last note on critique partners... Thank you so much for all your hard work in making a writers scrambled words make sense!

An Editor, most of the time gets paid to go over every detail in your writing (if you didn't win a prize of their editing in a contest), based off of what that editor's expertise is.  Let's bring it down to the two main types, Copy Editor and Developmental.

A Copy Editor generally specializes in grammar and sentence structure.  Easy enough, till you realize that you didn't pay attention in English class and you forgot what a preposition is or how to use the right there, their, they're.  They help with that, but you may want to check out a grammar book and go over it yourself before you pay some one else to do it.  Well... that's what I did. Never stop learning, after all, the English language is always changing.

A developmental Editor's job is to make sure that the book flows, that it works and that your plot doesn't resemble Swiss cheese.  The look through scenes, through chapters, and the entire book to make sure the last page plot is still the same plot as the first page introduced it.  For a better breakdown check out Two Songbird Press or Reader Views.

Random thought:  Editors Rock!

Both of these types are professionals that have been doing their work for a while. They know what they are doing and are obligated to help you if the contest has been won or the appropriate fees are exchanged.  Either way, they should be a near last resort.  Don't try to publish you novel without an editor, but don't send it to an editor till you are sure you are about to publish.

That's where Beta Readers come in.

When you look for a Beta Reader, you want some one who reads your genre. Because, well let's face it, if they like horror and you write romance, they won't be able to get into the book, since they don't usually read that type of thing.  You also want someone who hasn't read your book before.  You need to know if the surprises in your book work, if the romance/horror/mystery works in all the right places.  If your crit-partner reads your final draft, though they may make suggestions, they are too close to it.  You need fresh eyes and a Beta Reader is the freshest.

Without these three sets of people a writer could not find the diamond in the rough of those scrambled words.

What do you think?  How many critique partners do you have? How many do you think is a good number? Do you have an editor you trust? Did you find them through a contest?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Christine Fonseca part 5

The Blog Ring of Power Welcomes Christine Fonseca

This week, Christine joins the Blog Ring of power to give us some insight on her herself, her book and all things writing. To find out where this began follow the links below. 
Part 1  C.F. tells us a bit about herself, hosted by Sandra
Part 2  We learn C.F.'s writing process, hosted by Dean
Part 3 We delve into my favorite part: the creative process, hosted by Terri
Part 4 We get down and dirty with the the technical aspects hosted by T.W.
Part 5 is here and now, we get to know a bit about her current work and some business aspects. 

Thanks Christine for joining us in the Realm.  I'm so happy you agreed to do this interview with us. Welcome. Now let's get talk about your current work.

BRoP:  Tell us about your new book and when it is out? Where can people purchase it? 
Christine:  My current release is LACRIMOSA (Book #1 in the Requiem Series). It is a book about love, duty, redemption, and sacrifice. It is officially released on 3/21, though it can be found in digital (Kindle, Nook, pdf) and hardcopy formats at online retailers including Amazon, Barnes and Noble and others.

BRoP:  What was the hardest part of writing this book? 
Christine:  I think writing in dual POVs – both first person – was definitely a huge challenge. I only wanted to do it if I could make the two voices unique, something that was definitely challenging for me. At least initially.

BRoP:  What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? 
Christine:  There are actually several favorite parts, most of which would be too spoilerific for me to share. So, let me just say this, the scenes between Nesy and Aydan are definitely intense and tons of fun to write.

BRoP:  Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 
Christine:  I hope readers will walk away with the question ideas, of love, sacrifice, redemption and duty in their thoughts.

Thanks Christine, now let's dive into the business aspect of your writing. 

BRoP:  Tell us about your route to success – if traditionally published, how did you land your agent/publisher? If self-published, how/when did you decide to go this route? Did you query an agent first? How did you handle the editing, proofreading, cover design, etc. 
Christine:  I have had a very topsy-turvy foray into publishing. With Nonfiction, I initially had an agent that I gained the traditional way – through querying. The process was very fast, going from initial query to book sale all within a few months. Fiction has been very different. My agent did not represent YA fiction, so I had to start the process all over again. I queried LACRIMOSA for more than three months, did a major rewrite and queried for another 3 months. Then I shelved it for nearly a year, before rewriting and subbing directly to small presses. After multiple rejections and the worry that I would have to again shelve the project, I sold it to Compass Press as part of a four book deal. It has been a thrilling ride, with deadlines and publication dates a mere six months apart. EEP!

BRoP:  How do you deal with rejection and/or negative reviews? 
Christine:  I am one of those authors that actually reads every review. I know, I know, most people say not to do this. But, yea, I do. Mostly it is a curiosity and “what can I learn from this” process for me. When it gets tough, is when the negative review is personal and not related to the story. I will admit, I find these the hardest to take. I once had a reader say that they lost many IQ points when reading my NF book – it was THAT overly simplistic. Really, that is sort of over the top to me. Unnecessary. But hey, I would rather move a person to hating the book, than not move them in any way at all. Most days ;)

BRoP:  Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like? 
Christine:  My publishers develop the designs for the fiction and nonfiction. In every case, I have had a lot of say. This has been especially true with the fiction, something I have really enjoyed. I’ve been able to give feedback on everything from coloring, to picture, to font. And while the decisions are ultimately my publishers, I love having a say.

BRoP:  How did you come up with the title – did it come from you or the publisher? 
Christine:  This has varied with genre. For nonfiction, my publisher has titled my books to some degree, usually in consultation with me and their marketing team. For my fiction, I have been able to title the works. For LACRIMOSA, the title comes directly from a Requiem Mass and has meaning both towards the content of the book and the structure of the series.

About Christine Fonseca
School psychologist by day, critically acclaimed YA and nonfiction author by night, Christine Fonseca believes that writing is a great way to explore humanity. Her debut YA Gothic series, The Requiem Series, including DIES IRAE and LACRIMOSA, examines the role of redemption, sacrifice and love. Her nonfiction titles include 101 SUCCESS SECRETS FOR GIFTED KIDS and EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS.

When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can be sipping too many skinny vanilla lattes at her favorite coffee house or playing around on Facebook and Twitter. Catch her daily thoughts about writing and life on her blog.

For more information about Christine Fonseca or the series, visit her website – or her blog

Short Blurb for LACRIMOSA
As if casting out demons isn’t hard enough, five-hundred-year-old Nesy has to masquerade as a teenage girl to do it. Nesy is the best of the warrior angels called Sentinals. She never makes mistakes, never hesitates, never gets emotionally involved. Until she meets Aydan.  
He is evil incarnate; a fallen angel that feeds off the souls of others. Everything Nesy is supposed to hate.  But she can’t, because he’s also the love of her former life as a human girl—a life that ended too soon, tying her to emotions she was never supposed to feel.
Now Nesy must choose between doing her duty—damning Aydan to the fiery depths of hell—or saving him, and condemning herself. 
Author Endorcement(s):
“LACRIMOSA reaches out, grabs readers by the heart, and takes them on an emotional journey from the first page to the last. The last novel you’ll need to read to understand true sacrifice.”

~Elana Johnson, Author of POSSESSION
ISBN: 0984786368 (ISBN 13: 9780984786367)
Hardback and Digital formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and fine retailers.

Additional Titles in the series include DIES IRAE (a Requiem Novella), LIBERA ME (Oct 2012) and REQUIEM (March 2013).
The book trailer can be seen by linking to YouTube - 
 Where can your readers stalk you?
Is your book in print, ebook or both? LACRIMOSA is available in all formats, as linked above.