Sunday, February 24, 2013

Do I have to be witty?

I realized I haven't been posting much this year (though don't worry, April is coming and I'll be posting for every letter of the alphabet) and I think I know why.  I'm not posting because I can't always think of something witty to say.

I know.  I follow so many amazing blogs and I love the creative things they come up with!

I love Cassie Mae's blog and her spell of the day!  She always says what is on her mind and it's always great.  Also, her book is hilarious!!
I love J.A. Bennet's blog and her ability to always make you feel something, whether happiness or laughter or leave you thinking about the end of her posts. 
I love Christine Rain's blog and her ability to make me think I can fight a dragon!  Her books are a huge success and I love reading them!  She makes self-publishing awesome!
I love Nick Wilford's blog and his ability to find the most amusing blogfests!  I also admire and love his dedication to his family and the writing community!
I love Livia Peterson's blog and her enthusiasm for writing and films!  She definitely is an inspiration and rejuvenates our writing community!
I love David Powers King's blog and his awesome way of ending each post!  He is super cool and always makes me laugh!

I could go on... but I won't - back on task!  (Although if you haven't, be sure to check out their blogs!)

I don't always feel like I'm a witty person on my blog, but I really am.  Here's some proof:


 Yes, I am that awesome.  I like to add little witty things into my writing, but I don't always come across that way.  I just need to remember I don't always have to post something witty to share with you guys, even though I do have more embarrassing photos to share I'm sure.

I don't want to make up a blogging schedule.  It feels too strict for me, but I just need to remember to be myself and enjoy blogging!  I want to show you who I am.  I've decided to do more posts with my personality!  Prepare for some hopefully hilarious stuff. :)

As an update on my writing:

* I'm working on my new WIP - tentatively called "Project K" so I have something to call the document on my computer.  It's going pretty well and I will hopefully be introducing my MC's love interest soon. :)  As a little sneak peak, he's a merman and saved her life.  Pretty cool!
* I've been doing quite a bit of reading lately, which is great!  I just finished reading "the perks of being a wallflower" and it was good, even though parts of it were awkward and the character's voice was hard to understand.  I'd give it 3 stars.
* I'm working on a query for "Defiance" and I might be asking for anyone who is willing to take a look at it.  As I work on revisions, I really love this story and I'd like to jump into the query pool for a little bit.  I always have self-publishing as a back-up, but I'd really like to give traditional publishing another try.  I love this story and I want others to love it too.  I really think the first few chapters show some great writing, so now I just have to master my query.

Are you witty when you blog?  Have you read any good books lately?  Would anyone like to read my query and give me some pointers? 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Ravens - A Review

Title: Ravens
Author: Kaylie Austen
Publisher:  World Castle Publishing
Publication Date: February 14, 2013

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Plot: First, here is the summary of "Ravens" from Amazon - What are Ravens, and are they as the world wants us to believe—sinister and without human qualities? When abruptly taken from their world, select humans are transformed into creatures of the night with penetrating eyes and uncanny abilities that most believe are a threat to mankind. Stripped from their mundane and ordinary lives, these creatures have no choice but to stalk the night and fight back in order to survive. One such Raven is eighteen-year-old Liam, who uses his telepathy to communicate with Kendra in order to lure her into the transformation. It proves to be a double-edged gambit that turns into a tumultuous journey. Racing against time to save her sister, whom she believed to be dead, Kendra falls through a portal and into a parallel world where humans hunt her. She becomes a Raven with ill-controlled powers, trapped in a torrid affair with Liam, and desperately struggles to find a grip on her new reality.

Kendra couldn't save her sister.  Julie and Liam disappeared right before her eyes and no one believed her.  She's lived with the guilt of not being able to rescue her sister.  But Liam never leaves her.  His mind is always within hers.  On the anniversary of their disappearance, Liam pulls Kendra through the portal and into a parallel world where she's not ordinary anymore and her sister isn't gone.  Kendra begins to discover a world where she has power and love, but she has to give up something and she can't get it back if she chooses.  A great story concept - needed a tad more world-building to help the readers, but it's a great concept!  (Though I admit, the blurb confused me because all I could think of was ravens as in the bird and I wondered why people turned into birds from the summary.)

The relationship between Kendra and Liam was... to put it mildly, steamy.  They had a problem keeping their hands off of each other and since he is described as incredibly attractive, it was distracting and hard to read sometimes.  I wanted to read more relationship building between the two characters.  They did have some great emotional moments and some arguments, but it went up and down fairly quickly.  I honestly had some trouble liking Kendra.  She was distant and made a lot of rash decisions.  I liked Liam's character, when he managed to keep his shirt on.  It was a bit steamy for YA.  Part of the story, I really just wanted them to stop touching and there to be more plot development.

Ravens is an interesting concept about parallel worlds, missing children, and the strange powers which make them hunted.  I enjoyed reading it, even if I felt the whole portal shifting/parallel world could have used a little more explanation.  I would recommend it if you enjoy science fiction with quite a bit of touching.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Indie-Kissing Blogfest

Happy Valentine's day!  (Or Single's Awareness Day if you prefer, like me.)  I'm not a big fan of the holiday, too much commercialism instead of an emphasis on love.  But anyway, it's time for the Indie Kissing Blogfest over at The Indelibles!

Who can join?   Absolutely anyone!

What do I blog about?
share a smoochable scene from your current wip or published work
provide tips on writing kissing or romance scenes
list your favorite books, movies…etc (with kissing, of course)
just write about kissing - your first kiss, perhaps?
suggest ideas for an affordable romantic date night


 I have decided to share a smoochable scene from my novel, "Defiance".  It's a kiss between Kaela, my main character and Declan, who is ironically not her love interest in the novel.  Trent is her love interest.  Oooo... interesting!  Without further chatter, here is my kissing scene:



“Are you ready?” Declan asked.  “We are only going to get one chance to do this and if we fail, Seth will surely kill us.”


“I don’t have anything left to loose.  If we fail, we will all be killed.  I don’t have anyone else outside of this place,” I answered.


“If we can’t get to Trent, we will have to leave him behind.”


Every fiber of me wanted to protest, but I simply nodded.  I understood what was at stake.  Declan pulled me into his arms, giving me a brief embrace.  I didn’t see it coming.  His lips were warm as they pressed to mine and his kiss was completely different from Trent.  I didn’t want to be parted from him.  The kiss was intense as he started to pull my lip into his mouth.  Before it could go any further, Declan pulled back and released me.  I was frozen.


“We need all the good luck we can get,” Declan said nonchalantly.


“Sure, yeah.  I agree.”


I shook my head, trying to clear my thoughts and focus on the plan.  I could think about that amazing kiss later, when we weren’t about to fight for our lives. 


----

Love those two characters!  Be sure to visit the others in the blogfest!


Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

IWSG - Narrative POV?

She, he, her, his, they, them, I, me, us... so many!

Anyway, it's time for another installation of The Insecure Writer's Support Group, which posts on the first Wednesday of every month and is run by our Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh.  Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!  Seriously, I love this support group!

I'm a bit insecure about narrative point-of-view this month.  Which do I choose?

Super quick overview of Point-Of-View (POV):

First person - I, me Omniscient
Second person - you
Third person - She/he 

My first four novels (granted all of them are shelved until further notice, pigs fly, or the Rapture) are written in first person limited.  The fifth is written in third person limited and the sixth novel is written in first person again.  I can see the definite benefits to each point of view, but there are limitations to both.  I enjoy writing in first person since it feels more personable and intimate with the character.  "Nameless" is written in third person because the first half of the book is written from a male POV.  I'm not a dude.  Nope, definitely not a dude and I didn't feel comfortable writing first person that way.

I'm waiting to hear back from my lovely CP's for "Defiance" and I started a novella, tentatively called Project K.  I started writing in third person switched to first person and back to third person.  I'm having trouble picking a voice to tell her story in.  Lainey is a being a difficult character.  I have to pick a "voice" for her.

So, my question is...

How do you decide in which POV the story should be told?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Overcoming Adversity Blogfest

Nick Wilford is hosting his very first blogfest, in honor of his stepson, Andrew.  He is planning on compiling all of the entries into a special anthology and to use the proceeds for a college fund for Andrew.  Andrew has cerebral palsy.  Nick's goal is to get him into a college where he can continue to learn and pursue what he is interested in!  It's a great cause!

The Rules

* Keep the entry to 500 words
* Post on either Monday, February 4th or Tuesday, February 5th
* Keep it family friendly!
* "Write about overcoming adversity for something you believe in!  It can either be a flash fiction piece, or an episode from your real life. Poetry is fine too." 


One of my closest friends has Ehler-Danlos Syndrome, which is an inherited connective tissue disorder.  Because of the disorder, her physical appearance is different.  Some people look at her strange, and yet they don't know her.  She is full of life and one of the sweetest people you could meet!  I decided I wanted to share a little flash fiction about someone with Ehler-Danlos in honor of her.



Ehler Danlos Syndrome
By Krista McLaughlin

“No one will want me.”

At twenty years old, Samantha sat upon the stone fence at the university, swinging her legs back and forth.  Her life expectancy was only forty years.  While other kids were just beginning their lives, hers was half over.  She sighed, tucking what little hair she could behind her ear.  Samantha stared at the picture of her father; she looked so much like him.  But it was genetic and he’d died of the same thing when she was only three years old.

A Frisbee buzzed by a second later.  Samantha grabbed tight to the wall.

“I’m so sorry!” the young man apologized.  “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.  You just scared the crap out of me,” Samantha mumbled.

“Hey, you’re in my Child Development 112 class on Tuesday morning, right?”

A smile crossed her lips.  “Yeah, I think I am.”

“That’s cool.  My name is Jason, by the way,” he said, picking up the Frisbee.  “What’s yours?”

“Samantha.”

Jason nodded.  “Cool name.  I’ve seen you.  I mean, obviously, but you always sit alone in the back of the class and you doodle on your paper.  At least I think you do.”

Samantha laughed at his stuttering and it only seemed to make Jason blush more.  “I didn’t know anyone was watching me,” she teased.

“Yeah, um… would it be too forward of me to ask you to have coffee with me?” he asked.

Samantha shrugged her shoulders.  “I don’t know.”

“Come on, I won’t bite.”

“But, what if you don’t like me?” she murmured.

Jason gave her a big smile, exposing his dimples.  “Give me and yourself a chance.”

Two years later, Samantha walked down the aisle and married the love of her life.  Jason never judged her or asked stupid questions.  He loved her for who she was.  It didn’t matter Samantha couldn’t have a baby.  They adopted a little girl and named her Julia.

She’d known since she was little.  Samantha was always different.  Bruises would appear on her skin if she barely bumped the table or if she tripped.  Her hair was thin and Samantha could barely pull it up.  Her green eyes were sunken in.  The color of her skin was pale and almost translucent.  Numerous hospitals visits with IVs and tubes from collapsed lungs left scars on her skin.  She’d always been sick and her mother had explained it, but Samantha never wanted it to control her life.

Samantha didn’t get a long life to some, but to her forty-two short years were enough.  One can waste their life wanting or live their life grateful for each day and each moment.  Samantha did the later. 


----

This a great cause - be sure to check out Nick's blog and hop around to the other blogs participating! 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Critique Partner for "Defiance"

Rough (not final) cover
Hello all!  Time for a little shameless begging and pleading.... I am looking for two or three critique partners for my YA Urban Fantasy "Defiance".  It's about a faerie held in a dangerous center who escapes and is on a journey of discovery and love, with quite a few quirky characters.

Here's a little teaser to interest you:



“So, about that kiss…” Declan began.

“Oh, the passionate kiss you gave me before we walked straight into danger and laughed at it?” I teased.

“Yeah.”  His cheeks were actually a bit red.  “I’m sorry about that.  I got a little wrapped up in the moment and I just decided to kiss you on a whim.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a great kiss.  But, I hope you don’t want me to date you or something.”

“What?  I thought we were going to get married next week?” I exclaimed.

Declan paled a little before getting my joke and laughing.  “I hope you didn’t spend too much on the wedding cake.  I doubt we can get our money back.”

I rolled my eyes.  “It’s a shame I spent so much money on the dress.”

Declan gently ran his shoulder into mine.  “I’m a great kisser, so I understand why you would confuse luck for infatuation.”

“Oh really?” I laughed.  “You think so highly of your own kissing?”

“I think I could win an award for kissing,” Declan said with a straight face.



Does that peak your interest?  I hope so!!  Declan and Kaela are hilarious characters.  Declan isn't even her love interest and they are swapping saliva! :)

I'm looking for a critique partner to comment on the flow of the plot, character development, and overall quality of the story.  You don't have to be picky about grammar.  I'll worry about that later!  I'm really looking for an overview of the story and suggestions for improvement. You'd be the first to read it - it's literally been locked on my computer and no one had gotten the chance.  Before now, you'd have to pry it from my fingers.

I am really hoping to self-publish this book later in the year and I need to get off my butt!

Seriously, it's great.  I'm more than a bit biased, but it's an enjoyable read and won't take much from you!  I'll reward you with returning the favor, reviewing one of your books if needed, and possibly more Avengers Gifs than you can handle. :)

If you are interested, leave a comment with your email or email me at kjmclaugh(at)gmail.com - THANKS!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

February Goals

Shortest month of the year for goals!  Though, only two or three days shorter than most.  It's time for an update on last month's goals and to list goals for next month! :)

Here are my goals from January:
* Write the last 5,000 words of "Unless"
Finished - the rough draft of "Unless" is finished and I combined the file with the first part "Nameless" - making the final word count: 101,379.  I expect to probably cut around 10,000 words during the first revision. 

* Work on plot revisions for "Nameless" from my critique partner
I started working on plot revisions and hopefully, can work on it full-time next month.

* Finish making cute pig cross-stitch bib

Completed bib - cute!

* Finally finish reading "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
I kept getting distracted, but I finally finished reading "Insurgent" - I should be doing a review sometime this month!  It. Was. Amazing.  I LOVED IT!!

I finished all of my goals from January!  That's a great way to start the year!

I love Colin Morgan! (And Bradley James.) :D


Goals for February:
* Do a full read-though of "Nameless"
Reading for plot holes, character development, minor grammatical errors and marking passages which are non-essential to the story

* Pre-blog posts for the April A to Z Blogging Challenge
I'm hoping for complete the first two weeks and have them pre-scheduled during this month.  I already have my theme, but I'm not sharing it until next month! ;) 

* Find critique partners for "Defiance"

* Write to 5,000 words on Project K
More details to come!


What are your goals for next month?  How did your January goals go?