Friday, August 29, 2014

The Love of Villains

Recently, I've been looking through blogfests I've participated in and I came across one in 2012 that I loved and I thought maybe I'd resurrect it! But I'm looking for someone to help host with me so we can share it with more people.


I'd love to do a blogfest about Evil Villains in celebration of Halloween. You could write a flash fiction story or use one of your own villains from your stories. Or you could write about your love of a movie/book villain. It would be 400 words or less and there would be some non-monetary prizes, like guest posts, free critiques of chapters, and maybe some donated books from authors. Mostly, it would be a fun time to share about our creepy characters and their motivations!

I'm thinking October 29th would be the date, so not exactly on Halloween, but close! :)

I'm looking for two or three bloggers who'd love to help. Your only job would be to post about the blogfest, share your own villain piece, and visit others who participate. (Also, I'd love it if someone could help make a blog button for it.)

If you are interested, let me know! :)  Have a great weekend!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Walking the Line of Showing/Telling and Internal Dialogue

How often has it been pounded into our brains - show, don't tell? While writing, don't tell us what the character is doing, show us what they are doing. But I've come to realize there's a fine line between showing/telling and internal dialogue.

I've been a little down lately about how my novella, BREATHLESS, is doing. It's not doing awful, but it's not doing incredibly well like I'd hoped. One of my writing friends, J.A. Bennett started reading it and sent me a message on something she quickly noticed.

             There's no internal dialogue.

As an example: at the beginning of the novel, Lainey overhears a conversation about her between her step-father and mom, they are criticizing her depression and solitude. Her only reaction is her heart skipping a beat and she walks away. I didn't realize what was missing, until Jennie mentioned it. There's nothing about how Lainey's feels and responds to the situation. You get she walks away, but there's nothing to signal her emotional mood or her thoughts. The reader is shown how the character responds, but they aren't getting anything from her. Lainey's head reads like an empty tomb with no thoughts other than where she was going to move next. An empty play.


A better way to respond would have been: Lainey clutched at the door, her heart pounding. Yes, she had almost died, and yes she wasn't sure what she was supposed to do with her life, but Peter had no understanding of what the sea meant to her. It was unfair of him to judge.

In that instance, we get Lainey's internal thoughts on the conversation. She know she's unsure of what to do and that she's hurt by the conversation. The reader gets to know Lainey better.

As writers, we are told so often told "show, not tell". And it's drilled into our heads until we can't focus on other things. I became paranoid of telling. It came to a point of losing contact with my character. Her thoughts were lost because I didn't want her to tell the story, but show it. I've noticed there's a difference in what we might think. There is good telling and bad telling. Bad telling would be "Lainey hated how her parents talked about her." That's flat out telling. Good telling would be "Lainey despised their words. They didn't understand and couldn't know the pain she felt. It wasn't fair of them to think of her like that."

We do still need to be careful about too much telling, but we have to be careful not to cut internal dialogue in fear of telling. We lose our character's thoughts and our reader's attentions when we do that. I've definitely learned there's a fine line we need to walk between the two and hopefully it gets better with practice. :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"The Real Thing" Release Day Blitz by Cassie Mae

Today is the release day blitz for Cassie Mae's "The Real Thing". So, I will let her take it away! Congratulations Cassie! I can't wait to read it! I'm off to devour your new book! :)

Time to party!

The Real Thing releases today (whoop whoop!) and I'm giving away a swag pack full of goodies.

The Real Thing postcards
A froggy loofah
Oh the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
The Real Thing Samsung Galaxy S3 Phone Case
A Cassie Mae pen
A collection of select Cassie Mae/Becca Ann signed books

Rafflecopter right below the excerpt and book details :)

*********************************************************************************

“All right, all right,” he says, smiling and holding his palm up to stop me. Tomato juice is dripping from the top of his head down his cheeks, getting caught in the smile lines by his mouth. I can feel it running down my face, too, and I should be gagging, but I’m not.

I open my mouth to tell him how cute he looks even with juice all over him, but a light ploof! hits the center of the tub between our bodies, and I stare down at my froggy loofah, now covered in red.

“Oh no!” I frown, plucking the sponge up by the froggy’s arm, then looking up to the shower caddy over Eric’s head. Our splash war must’ve knocked my poor froggy right off his little perch. “My loofah.”

“That’s what it’s called!” Eric slaps the top of his knee, getting more juice on both of us. “I’ve been staring at that thing since you moved in, trying to remember what the hell people call it.”

A small bubble of laughter escapes through my slight frown. “Why?”

“That thing is creepy.”

I gasp. “It is not. It’s cute.” My lip pokes out as I look at the juice soaking into the blue frog’s face. “And now it’s ruined.”

He takes the loofah from my fingers, an adorable pinched look on his face.

“I don’t know how you can wash yourself with this,” he says, pulling at the leg poking from the big green sponge part.

“It’s soft on my sensitive lady parts.” I laugh as his face goes red again. I expect him to drop the loofah back in my hand—or throw it at me—but he doesn’t. He keeps pulling at it as if it’s the weirdest, yet most fascinating thing in the world.

“Is it really ruined?” he asks, tone suddenly nowhere near his usual playfulness. He actually looks worried about my sponge.

“It’s like a buck, Eric.” I adjust in the tub again as the juice creeps into nooks and crannies of my body I had no idea existed till now. “I can get another one tomorrow. Maybe an even creepier one just for you.”

I try to wink, but I’ve never been good at that. He sort of laughs, but his eyes go back to the froggy. He runs his thumb over the eyeballs, wiping the juice from it. I thought I knew Eric pretty well. But as I watch him stare at my loofah, head slightly cocked to the side, I realize I have no clue what he’s thinking. And that’s totally okay. The anticipation of finding out is better.

“Only a dollar?” His eyes lift to mine.

“Or two. Depending on where you go.”

His lips purse and he nods, then plunges the sponge into the juice. Before I can smack him for that, he pulls it from the bath and wrings it out over my head. My jaw drops to my knees.

“Oh, you are so dead.”

*********************************************************************************


Buy Me!
In this electrifying novel from Cassie Mae, two close friends surprise themselves by shifting from platonic love to sexual attraction.
Eric Matua has one friend—his best friend and childhood sweetheart, who needs a place to stay for the summer. Mia Johnson has thousands of friends—who live in her computer. Along with her email chats and Facebook notifications, Mia also devours romance novels, spending countless hours with fictional characters, dreaming of her own Romeo to sweep her off her feet. When she starts receiving supersweet messages from a stranger who thinks she’s someone else, Mia begins to believe that real love is possible outside her virtual world.

When the two friends become roommates, Mia finds herself falling harder than she ever thought she could. But Eric keeps his desires locked away, unsure of himself and his ability to give his best friend what she deserves in a boyfriend. As her advances are continually spurned, Mia splits her time between Eric and her computer. But she soon realizes she’s about to lose the only real thing she’s ever had.
Advance praise for The Real Thing
“Cassie Mae is awesome! The perfect balance between laugh-out-loud funny and achingly poignant, The Real Thing is the ultimate escapist read. I didn’t want it to end!”—Lauren Layne, author of Isn’t She Lovely
“Watching two best friends figure out how to fall in love makes The Real Thing a summer read of swoon-worthy perfection.”—Jolene Perry, author of The Summer I Found You
“Cassie Mae’s The Real Thing made me want to close out every social media app and electronic device I have, but I couldn’t manage to stop reading!”—Rebecca Yarros, author of Full Measures

About the Author


Cassie Mae (who dawns the name Becca Ann on occasion) is the author of a few hundred... okay, maybe not that many... books. Some of which became popular for their quirky titles, characters, and stories. She likes writing about nerds, geeks, the awkward, the fluffy, the short, the shy, the loud, the fun.
Since publishing her bestselling debut, Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend, she has published and sold books to Random House, Swoon Romance, and Spencer Hill Press. She has a favorite of all her book babies, but no, she won't tell you what it is. (Mainly because it changes depending on the day.)
Along with writing, Cassie likes to binge watch Teen Wolf and The Big Bang Theory. She can quote Harry Potter lines quick as a whip. And she likes kissing her hubby, but only if his facial hair is trimmed. She also likes cheesecake to a very obsessive degree.
You can stalk, talk, or send pictures of Dylan O'Brien to her on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cassiemaeauthor


****************Giveaway!******************





Friday, August 8, 2014

Unspeakable by Michelle K. Pickett - Cover Reveal!

Today I'm helping with the cover reveal for my writing buddy's novel! I was lucky to read an earlier version of this book and give some helpful suggestions. I can't wait to read the final version!

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COVER REVEAL:
UNSPEAKABLE by Michelle K. Pickett

 

Genre: Mature Young Adult Contemporary Romance (Realistic Fiction)
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Release Date: February 10, 2015
 

Goodreads Book Giveaway
Unspeakable by Michelle K. Pickett     

Giveaway ends September 30, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.


Summary from Good Reads:

“Breathe. No one will break me. I’m strong. Breathe. Just breathe.”

On the outside, Willow appears to have it all. She’s beautiful, smart, from an influential family, and she dates the most popular guy in school—Jaden. But she would walk away from it all in a second. Willow is tormented by lies and suffocating guilt, not the hearts and flowers people believe her life is full of. 

She carries a dark secret. Plagued by nightmares and pain, the secret dominates her life. If she hadn’t walked away. If she had just… but she didn’t. And now she has to live with her choices. But when someone uncovers her family’s past, they use it against her, crushing her spirit little by little. She tells herself she just has to make it to graduation. Then she can leave Middleton, and her secret, far behind.

When Brody transfers to Cassidy High, he turns Willow’s life upside down. He shows her what it feels like to live again, really live. And suddenly, she isn’t satisfied with just surviving until graduation. She wants a normal life—with Brody—and he wants her. But the closer they become, the more it threatens to unravel the secret she’s worked so hard to hide.

Willow finds true love with Brody. Will she let his love save her, or walk away from him to keep her secret safe?


ABOUT MICHELLE K. PICKETT:

Michelle is the bestselling author of the young adult novel “PODs.” She was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, but now lives in a sleepy suburb outside Houston with her extremely supportive husband, three school-aged children, a 125 pound “lap dog,” and a very snooty cat.
Red Bull or Monster Khaos are her coffee of choice, and she can’t write without peanut butter M&Ms and a hoodie. A hopeful romantic; she loves a swoon-worthy ending that will give her butterflies for days. She writes across genres in the young adult and new adult age groups. She loves to hear from her readers.
Michelle signed her new young adult contemporary novel— Unspeakable, with Clean Teen Publishing in 2014. 
Keep up-to-date on her current and future projects at www.michelle-pickett.com.
 

Congratulations Michelle! It's such a beautiful cover! Be sure to add it on Goodreads and enter the giveaway!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

IWSG - Positive Rejections

Today is 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. This is a place where 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.

The awesome co-hosts today are Sarah Foster, Joylene Nowell Butler, Lily Eva, and Rhonda Albom! Please stop by and thank them for helping today.

Today I'd like to talk about positive rejections.

Say, what?

Yes. I received a positive rejection from an agent last week for my novella, Silent Beauty. Because I'm a little bit crazy, I queried two agents for my novella. Just two. Yes, that makes no sense and yeah, probably not my best idea. It was a "on a whim" thing. One is a new agent, the other is my dream agent. I didn't expect much. After six weeks passed, I sent a little nudge on Twitter to see what date the agent had responded through. She was very kind and my query had been missed! I sent it again and she gave me a personal response instead of a form rejection. (The other agent I know it backlogged and I'm patient.)

The agent mentioned how much she loved Silent Beauty's pitch and premise, also the writing was very strong. But she wasn't looking for novellas at the time. She said if I ever decided to strengthen the novella with a longer word count to query her again. So, it's a yes and a no. But mostly a no.

I’m actually really excited about this rejection! I didn’t just see the “No”. I see that my novella has a great premise and pitch and strong writing. That makes it a very positive experience for me. :) I know I’m on the right track. I don’t know if I’m going to lengthen my novella or find another place for it, but I do know the writing is strong and that makes me very happy.

Have you ever had a rejection that wasn’t completely a no? I know most rejections I’ve received are a form, but I do appreciate this agent sending a personal response. Have faith to everyone in the query trenches! Keep putting yourself out there!

Friday, August 1, 2014

August Goals

Yesterday was a stressful mess! I'm supposed to be moving into my new apartment today. Nope. I was told there was parking nearby since my apartment is located on campus. I searched and couldn't find any. I emailed if there was a possibility of switching to another apartment within the same company. Then I remember it was probably better to call. Called and the guy said no. He was polite, but no. As soon as I hung up with him, I got an email from the company owner that it was a yes if I could find a person to sublease. I found one! I might end up paying part of the month, but I'll be moving to a much better place for me. It's in downtown, next to my favorite coffee shop and cheap clothing store! Also, there's a cupcake place across the street. :) I'll have to sleep on my parent's couch for another two weeks, but I'm okay with that if I don't have to live with loud college students when I work 2 jobs. Yeah, that was my stressful day.

Anyway, it's time for an update in goals!

Here are my goals from July:
* Read "City of Lost Souls" and "City of Heavenly Fire" by Cassandra Clare

* Work on query for "Silent Beauty" and a few nit-picky revisions




Ta-da! Sorry, that felt like a dancing moment. I didn't accomplish any of my goals from June, but I did manage to complete all of my goals for July. So, I definitely call that a win. :) While I still didn't quite feel very productive, I did manage to get some hard revisions done on Silent Beauty and strengthen the novel. As to the reading aspect of writing, I read six books during the month of July.

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
Courage (Mark of Nexus #2) by Carrie Butler
Four by Veronica Roth
True Love and Magic Tricks (Beds, #0.5) by Cassie Mae and Theresa Paolo
Honesty (Mark of Nexus #2.5) by Carrie Butler

I'm ONE book away from my overall yearly goal of 40 books. I will definitely be reading more than 40 books this year and that makes me very happy. :)

Goals for August:
* Write to 20,000 words on "Cold to the Touch"

* Work on more "Silent Beauty" revisions

* Reread "The Freaks" - look for weaknesses and plot issues


I'm looking forward to these goals and hopefully everything gets sorted out with my apartment soon so I'll have a place to live! I love my family, but I miss my bed and books, which are packed in a trailer. Also, I miss have some personal space! But August should bring some good changes. :) What are your goals for August and how did your goals for July go?