Monday, November 26, 2012

Eureka! Break Through!

So.  I have known, since I finished Dead Awakenings that I would be having a sequel.  However what I didn't have was a single solitary idea as to where I wanted it to go.  There are so many possibilities.  One character in particular had a Huge decision to make and I just didn't know which way I wanted them to go.  For months now I have been trying in vain to find some sort of storyline that would answer all the questions, and still allow one of the main characters to have at least resolution, if not a happy ending.

When I was speaking with a mentor about the fact that several different production companies wanted to see a script, he mentioned that I needed to at least have an outline for the second book, or it could cause me some problems down the line if I didn't.  So my search for a storyline when into overdrive.

After then speaking with a writing friend of mine she helped me figure out what questions had to be worked out and EUREKA!  I finally had an idea as to where to go with the sequel.

I can now say officially that the sequel to Dead Awakenings, Dead Reckoning (working title) is underway.

Thanx to all my fans for your support!

Monday, November 19, 2012

I did it! I finished my latest Novel!

So this novel I have been working on, and off, and on again, for the last two years.  I had all but the last 12,000 words written last year and then the weight of the book came crashing down on me as I realized I had 100,000 words and I was nowhere near finished with the story!

So about 6 months ago the thought hit me.  Why am I trying to cram everything into one book?  There is so much still to write that this should really be a pair of books.  Wahoo!  I was suddenly inspired to write about 4,000 more words.  And then it happened.  I got to the climax of the book and became so overwhelmed with wanting to get it perfect that I stalled out and couldn't move forward.

Then I started taking a Pro Screenwriting series from Hal Croasmun.  Hal said that you should write, even if it's crap. Write it without judging yourself for what you are writing.  Just get it down there. 

So this month, with it being National Write a Novel month, I was determined to finish the book.  And tonight, I did it!  Wahoo!  Throw a party!  I finished the last 8,000 words and completed the novel.

I am so proud of myself and totally excited!  And of course, now is the feeling of, okay now what do I work on?  But not to worry!  I have a ton of other projects to work on, and just as many to polish!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Next Big Thing! Blog Hop

Hey everyone!  I was asked by author Jessica Thompson  if I wanted to be in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop that was started on Good  So I thought it would be fun to do and to link to a few other great writer blogs out there.  I think it also gets me an opportunity to put a things on my blog about me and what I am up to right now, since I am so busy I haven't been able to post much.

What is the (working title) of your book? 
Dead Awakenings.

Where did the idea come from for the book? 
I had someone mention to me that they had never heard of a Zombie Romance before and I thought it was a totally disgusting idea.  But the idea wouldn't stay out of my head, till I came up with an idea.

What genre does your book fall under? 
Paranormal Romance, from what I am told.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 
Oooooh, that has been asked of me before and it is a toughy.  I have a look in my head, but not necessarily an actual actor.  For my heroine Evaine, Jessica Biel  would be awesome.  My daughter worked on a movie she directed a few years ago and she is an extremely nice person.  For Luca I love Michael Sheen and Karl Urban.  And for Tristan I see Steven R. McQueen.  He is such a cutie!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 
When a college student enters a drug trial to pay the bills and awakens in a derelict hospital strapped to a bed, the last things she expects to be told is that she is a zombie.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Originally I was going to self publish, but I have gotten so much positive feedback from my beta readers, that I am now going to try and get an agent.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About a month, maybe less.  I wrote and wrote and wrote day in and day out until it was finished.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I have been told it is like Twilight meets the Walking Dead.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
My husband has always believed in me and my writing so he inspired me to write it.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
This is a zombie romance.  Not sure what else to say besides that.  There isn't anything out there like it.  It is fun and sexy and I love it!
Hope that everyone has had fun with this post.  I think I am going to do it again in a couple of weeks with my book The Society and then again with a few others.

I am linking this to a few other great authors that I think you might enjoy as well!  Take care!

Laurisa White
Chana Keefer

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Screenwriters U - Proseries 42

So my husband signed my up with Proseries class for script writing.  And in the last 5 days I have been filled with amazing information from Hal Croasmun.

You may be wondering what the heck I am doing in a script class, but the truth is, I am trying to get my book into script format.

My husband took my Dead Awakenings book to several productions companies a few months back and they all wanted to see a script.  And now that I am completely done with edits and beta readers on the book and I am sending out query letters, I need to move on to the script.

I did a second draft of The Society this last two weeks and it is good.  Needs some world adjustments, but other than that I didn't find any major plot holes and I tightened up my characters.  So that one can wait while I work on my scripts.

At this time I have four scripts I want to write.  One I have to get done and three I would love to get done.  I know that taking this class is really going to help me fulfill that goal.

So, what to be on the watch for? Watch for more posts on the progress of the script as well as my upcoming need for Beta Readers for my book The Society.

Also, wish me luck in finding an agent :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy All Hallows Eve!

Happy All Hallows Eve to all my friends and fans!  May your night be filled with Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies!

Here's a history lesson for everyone!

Ancient Origins of Halloween

Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.
To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.
By 43 A.D., the Roman Empire had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of "bobbing" for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.
On May 13, 609 A.D., Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome in honor of all Christian martyrs, and the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day was established in the Western church. Pope Gregory III (731–741) later expanded the festival to include all saints as well as all martyrs, and moved the observance from May 13 to November 1. By the 9th century the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands, where it gradually blended with and supplanted the older Celtic rites. In 1000 A.D., the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It is widely believed today that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. All Souls Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils. The All Saints Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.

Halloween Comes to America

Celebration of Halloween was extremely limited in colonial New England because of the rigid Protestant belief systems there. Halloween was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies. As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups as well as the American Indians meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included "play parties," public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other's fortunes, dance and sing. Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing Ireland's potato famine of 1846, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today's "trick-or-treat" tradition. Young women believed that on Halloween they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings or mirrors.
In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft. At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything "frightening" or "grotesque" out of Halloween celebrations. Because of these efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.
By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment. Despite the best efforts of many schools and communities, vandalism began to plague Halloween celebrations in many communities during this time. By the 1950s, town leaders had successfully limited vandalism and Halloween had evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young. Due to the high numbers of young children during the fifties baby boom, parties moved from town civic centers into the classroom or home, where they could be more easily accommodated. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country's second largest commercial holiday.

Today's Halloween Traditions

The American Halloween tradition of "trick-or-treating" probably dates back to the early All Souls' Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called "soul cakes" in return for their promise to pray for the family's dead relatives. The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as "going a-souling" was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.
The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

Halloween Superstitions

Halloween has always been a holiday filled with mystery, magic and superstition. It began as a Celtic end-of-summer festival during which people felt especially close to deceased relatives and friends. For these friendly spirits, they set places at the dinner table, left treats on doorsteps and along the side of the road and lit candles to help loved ones find their way back to the spirit world. Today's Halloween ghosts are often depicted as more fearsome and malevolent, and our customs and superstitions are scarier too. We avoid crossing paths with black cats, afraid that they might bring us bad luck. This idea has its roots in the Middle Ages, when many people believed that witches avoided detection by turning themselves into cats. We try not to walk under ladders for the same reason. This superstition may have come from the ancient Egyptians, who believed that triangles were sacred; it also may have something to do with the fact that walking under a leaning ladder tends to be fairly unsafe. And around Halloween, especially, we try to avoid breaking mirrors, stepping on cracks in the road or spilling salt.
But what about the Halloween traditions and beliefs that today's trick-or-treaters have forgotten all about? Many of these obsolete rituals focused on the future instead of the past and the living instead of the dead. In particular, many had to do with helping young women identify their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday—with luck, by next Halloween—be married. In 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it. In Scotland, fortune-tellers recommended that an eligible young woman name a hazelnut for each of her suitors and then toss the nuts into the fireplace. The nut that burned to ashes rather than popping or exploding, the story went, represented the girl's future husband. (In some versions of this legend, confusingly, the opposite was true: The nut that burned away symbolized a love that would not last.) Another tale had it that if a young woman ate a sugary concoction made out of walnuts, hazelnuts and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night she would dream about her future husband. Young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands' initials; tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water; and stood in front of mirrors in darkened rooms, holding candles and looking over their shoulders for their husbands' faces. Other rituals were more competitive. At some Halloween parties, the first guest to find a burr on a chestnut-hunt would be the first to marry; at others, the first successful apple-bobber would be the first down the aisle.
Of course, whether we're asking for romantic advice or trying to avoid seven years of bad luck, each one of these Halloween superstitions relies on the good will of the very same "spirits" whose presence the early Celts felt so keenly.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Should Men Read Paranormal Romance?

When I started reading Paranormal romance, I kept it to myself.  No way did I want people to think I was one of "those women" who read the steamy romance novels and fantasized about forbidden intimate encounters with strangers! 

But then I started to read books like Jennifer Ashley's Pride Mates, and Lara Adrian's Midnight Breed series.  And what I found was intense relationships between a monogamous couple and I was intrigued.  I found them to be intimate on a new level.  Not just in the bedroom, but also in the progression of their relationship with each other. 

So, naturally, I started writing Paranormal Romance.  As I did, I found that mine too centered around a monogamous couple, or at least a couple fighting to be together.  However, I also found that I am an action gal at heart.  I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer who kicks butt daily.  I love Selene in Underworld and Blade from the Blade Trilogy.  All butt kickers and action!  So my Paranormal Romances are coupled with lots of action.  Why?  Because quite honestly I cannot stand a slow book.  I like the books I read to have a purpose outside of the Romance.  Outside of our own relationships, there is always other stuff going on.  So I want there to be those outside influences in my books.  Ones that threaten to tear my couples apart, but through their love they are able to endure and become stronger for it.  Yes, I have taken that from my own relationship with my husband of 14 years.  We have gone through a lot of crap together in 14 years, but we are stronger for it as a couple.

Because of this I think my books will appeal not just to women but to men as well.  And yes I do believe men should read Paranormal Romance books.  Strange as it sounds.  So does Paul Goat Allen.

Yesterday he wrote an awesome article on Barnes and about why men should read Paranormal Romance.  He talks specifically about Jennifer Ashley's books.  And I absolutely agree with him.  Here are three reasons he gives as to why men should read Paranormal Romance:

1. Believe in true, everlasting love. In this series, Shifters experience a mate bond with their lovers, a “magical binding between true mates” that is all encompassing – body and soul – and lasts until death.

3. Find passion in your life. Ashley’s male Shifter leads are, above all else, passionate. Passionate about their lives, their families, their causes, and their lovers. At one point early on in Mate Claimed, Eric tells Iona: “When we make love, it will be like the world exploded.” Enough said.

Maybe I’m completely wrong about this but I firmly believe that men who regularly read paranormal romance will ultimately find themselves better off for it.

To see the full article go here:

My hope is that millions of men will begin to read Paranormal Romance! 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Is Writing Your Business?

I have never really thought of writing as my job.  I am a mom, and have always seen that as my "job" and writing as my outlet. 

Because it is my outlet I have gone along for the last couple of years, writing when I feel like it, stopping when I don't.  Moving from project to project working here and there.  As a result, I have 3 finished novels, 1 half finished novel,  1 almost finished novel,  2 half finished screenplays,  1 finished short screenplay,  1 half finished web series and 10 not even begun novels.  All in all I think I have done a lot in the last three years.  But I am at the point where I feel I need to be doing more to finish my works and get them out there.

I recently came across a mini webseries called:
A Business Plan for Self-Published Authors by Denise Grover Swank

This webseries has been a real eye opener to me.  I never once thought of actually sitting down and figuring out a Business Plan for me as a writer.  But Denise so nicely lays out what to do and where to get the information, that I am seriously considering writing a Business Plan for my writing.  Not just so I can have a goal of what I need to be focusing on, but so I can start taking my writing to the next level and get it from the "Outlet" point to the actual "profession" point.

I am still a mother first and foremost, but I also have come to the realization that I need to be a writer as well.  I have so many ideas, stories, characters and places running around in my head that are begging to be put down on paper, that I have to do them the justice of giving them life.

I am what I consider a creative type.  I am disorganized to the outside observer, flighty, moving from thing to thing and place to place often, eccentric, and loud.  But I need to also rein myself in and start to focus and get a plan together so I can get more finished on a yearly basis.

Hope the series helps you too!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Indie Book Covers

As you may have seen, from a few posts ago, we have been trying our hand at book covers for Dead Awakenings. I knew what I wanted, but it wasn't turning out quite the way I wanted, though I do graphic design myself. So my husband tried his hand at it. And even a friend of mine tried his hand at it. Turns out, it isn't as easy as I had hoped.

Though I like all the covers we have tried; and there is a new one I just finished that I haven't even shown anyone yet. I am not "Wowed" by any of them to the point of saying "YES! That's the one!"
So the book covers are still a work in progress.

I read that you should have a specific scene in your book that inspires the cover artist. That when you write you should keep your cover artist in mind and try and write something just for them. However, I have not really seen a Romance book that takes a scene from the book and puts it on the cover. Or many of the books I read, for that matter.

Look at Hunger Games, Twilight, House of Night, Black Dagger Brotherhood, Sookie Stackhouse, Night Circus, or any number of other books on my shelf, and I don't see a "scene" on the front of their books. They are dark, have the main characters on them, or some element from the book that is a great representation, but not a scene per say. So, I am not going for the scene feeling on the cover.

What I want it the face of my heroine from the book, yet I have not found the right one yet. I have an idea for one, but I am not sure how to achieve it.

I saw this article on the amazon boards and I thought it might be helpful to those trying to make their own cover. To me, it is great. It talks about tips and tricks to fine tune a cover once you have a basic idea as to what you want.,127338.0.html#.UF31fV57MNM.facebook

This was really a helpful tutorial, even for someone like me that does Photoshop almost daily!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How to Romance your Readers - Sex Scenes

Okay, Let me start off by saying I don't have sex scenes in my books.  I have tension building intimate scenes, but not full graphic sex scenes.  However, I found an article at:—Or-How-to-Romance-Your-Reader-by-Nina-Pierce

Perfect Sex - Or how to romance your reader, By Nina Pierce.  I thought the article was great.  Even if you aren't planning on writing a full sex scene, the notes on it are wonderful to help you remember what to do and what not to do in even just an intimate scene.

Use anatomy, not vague nonsensical pseudonyms for things that pull people out of the story.  Remember to use all of the senses.  And especially remember to use feelings.  All those elements will help pull people into the romance and believe it.  Also, there has to be vulnerability and walls broken down when scenes are played out between the main love interests.

Those items in the article, I found especially helpful!  I plan to keep this article on file so that I can refer to it often when reviewing my intimate moments between characters.  To make sure my romance is on the right track.

Thanx Nina Pierce for a great article!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mock Covers for Dead Awakenings

As my book gets ready to go to Beta Readers this week, I have had a lot of suppose fly my way!  First my Beta Readers have been amazingly patient with me and so supportive of the work that is coming their way!

Next, my Awesome Husband and Champion has put up an Indiegogo campaign for me to try and raise the last bit of money we need to get some great editing done, and a professional cover made.
Here is the link:

Next, my great friend and fellow writer Darin Calhoun, whose blog is located here:

Made these great mock up book covers for me!  He is so awesome!

My husband made this awesome one for me:
All of them have inspired me to finish up the book and get it out there.  I have two face book pages.  One for all of my writings and one for just this book and Indiegogo campaign.
And here is my Twitter

Monday, September 10, 2012

Publishing a Novel is More than Just Writing

My husband and I have been talking a lot lately about where to get the money to finish up my book and get some great cover art.  As someone who judges a book by it's cover nine times out of ten, and being married to someone with Dyslexia who always looks at the cover first, we decided that we have to put our best foot forward by making sure the outside is as great as the inside.

My husband has been working on finding someone to do the artwork, while I have been working on finding an editor.  I have been leery about even letting my work go out to my Beta Readers without it going to an editor first.  However, I finally concluded that after seven revisions on Dead Awakenings, I am going to let it go to my Beta Readers first, then to the editor.

While looking on my Twitter account tonight I stumbled across a blog post that talked about this very thing.  I thought it put the idea of writing and publishing into great perspective.

The post called: You're not ready to invest, you're not ready to publish.  By April Hamilton.  April had some great points.  I am going to mention a few here:

Anyone who wants to launch a new business like a restaurant, widget manufacturer, accounting practice or pool service expects to invest a certain amount of start-up capital, both in terms of actual cash and sweat equity. Neither is dispensable. Yet plenty of would-be indie authors seem to think it's unfair for me, and even the book-buying public, to expect them to invest anything more than the sweat equity part of the equation. They expect the public to be able to look past a cut-rate cover, ignore the typos, bad grammar and the many other substantive flaws that can be eliminated by a good editor, and see the excellent story within.

Hopeful Olympians pay for quality equipment, coaching and travel. Hopeful artists pay for quality supplies, professional framing and gallery space. Hopeful filmmakers pay for quality cameras and professional editing, or at least time in a professional editing bay to do it themselves. The fact that it's much easier for a rich hopeful to afford the necessities of his craft or sport than it is for a poor one doesn't make those things any less NECESSARY for the poor hopeful.

I loved how April put those two paragraphs.  My husband owns a Production company and he had invested in an amazing camera and lights.  Next he is going to invest in sound equipment.  As a mother of children in the entertainment industry I know first hand how important it is to have the right equipment on set.  A poor camera equals poor quality on film.  Nothing can change that.  The best screenplay in the world can be ruined if the filming and editing are done poorly.

I know that as my husband needs the best equipment to work with, so that his films are the best quality.  So too do I need to have the best product I can make.  And that doesn't end when I have finished the story.  I need to be willing to put in the time, effort and money to make sure that my cover is great and my editing is impeccable.  

To read the entire blog post, please go to April's blog:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Tale of two First Chapters

So, I finished my book, The Society, last year.  Which is a Dystopian Vampire Romance.  I have lots of love for that piece of work.  My leading male, is brooding, gorgeous and tortured.  My leading female is tough, sexy and powerful.  When I wrote it, I wanted the first chapter to be from the point of view of the leading male, Mason.  It involved Mason and a group of humans he is helping to gather supplies.  I liked the beginning.  I felt it really gave a good overview of what the world was like now.  So I decided to show it to a friend of mine.  Who, let's just say, didn't care for it.  He pointed out that Mason had to be a character that people liked and wanted to root for, and that chapter just didn't do that.

At first I was upset.  I thought the chapter did a great job of showing you who Mason is.  But as I pondered his words, I realized that I was seeing Mason through a "Creators" eyes.  I already knew Mason.  His back story, his loves, his fears, his vital stats.  Readers, don't.  I have to show readers all of those things about Mason, not just assume that they will already know them.

So I sat down and thought of ten new ways I could start the story.  One of them stuck out to me.  So I thought about it a bit, and decided to see what I could make out of the new idea.  I was pleasantly surprised by a few things.  First, I was able to show a lot more of the human world in this new first chapter, than was seen in the old one.  Second, I was able to develop something in Mason, that hadn't been seen before.  Compassion.  I was able to build into Mason's character a way for people to want to root for him.  Not just because he is the main character, but because of who he is.

As I look at the new first chapter, I am finding a new depth to Mason that wasn't there before.  Avenues of his personality and back story to be explored.  Also, I am finding new little subplots and conflicts that I will be able to use later on in the book to add those extra little dynamics needed to round out a story.

Amazing how one character can create so many endless possibilities!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Five Weak Words that Make Your Writing Less Effective

Five Weak Words that Make Your Writing Less Effective

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Review - Blood Rights (House of Commare Series) by Kristen Painter

Blood Rights by Kristen Painter was an interesting, yet frustrating read.  The world building and mythology behind the book were wonderful.  The invention of the blood slaves bought and owned by Vampires was intriguing.  I enjoyed the fact that the blood slaves were not mere donors who had no more skill then to be good in bed.  Painter did a great job at making them formidable fighters and quite intelligent as well.

I enjoyed the main male character Mal.  He was every part the brooding, lonely male Vampire in need of some companionship and understanding.  Outcast from his society because of his previous crimes, I found it an interesting twist that he is living on a ship in port, as opposed to a fallen into ruin house.  I also liked that he was not rich as King Midas.  Those two elements brought a very updated feeling to the story.  His desire for Chrysabelle and his torture for not feeling he deserved her, was genuine.  His not wanting to get involved as a means of self preservation, also genuine.  All in all, I like Mal.  He is the one I cared most about and wanted to see a happy ending for.

Chrysabelle is a decent female, though confusing at times by her words and behavior.  Torn between moving forward and wanting to go back, I found it hard to decide if I liked her or not.  At times she wants Mal to feed from her, and at others she says he sees he as just food.  She refuses to let go of her traditions, though she clearly wants to become her own person.  That worked in the first book.  It worked a bit in the second book.  But by the third book, all I could think was, "Come on now, move on!"

The villain Tatiana I thought was a good yet predictable character.  You don't find out till the end who she really is, but you see it coming hundreds of pages earlier.  She is selfish and self serving.  Goes through men like clothing, and thinks of no one but herself.  Sounds like most stereotypical Vampire women.

I must say.  I read the first three books in the series, thinking they were the only three books in the series.  They got a bit strange in the last two, with the love triangle not working well , in my opinion.  I read all three books, through the stripping off of Chryabelle's sacred symbols that make her blood pure, to her finding a way to get them put back on.  Through a ghost who is dead, but not dead when she wants to have sex with her shifter boyfriend.  A villain who loses but then becomes more powerful.  And backwater witches who manage to do an amazing magical feat, which they are truly not powerful enough to do, only so that I could see Chrysabelle and Mal do more than a little light kiss once and again.  To no avail.

I do understand wanting to write a complex relationship and draw out the "will they, won't they" factor as long as possible, to build the moment.  However, this book was listed in the Romance section of Amazon.  And in my opinion, it falls very flat on it's face.  There is little to no romance after the first book. 

So, my opinion is, the world building is great.  The curses and the abilities of the different Vampire houses were very cool and well thought out.  The first book was good enough to make me read more, but the books go down hill from there.  If you are looking for a romance, look somewhere else.  If you are looking for a new take on things, feel free to read this series.  For me, I won't be buying the fourth novel in the series, because frankly, I no longer care.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

3 Great Self Editing Websites

So as I am on the 7th draft of my book Dead Awakenings.  I am focusing soley on the editing factor this time.  My great friend and fellow author Darin Calhoun, has turned me onto three websites that I find to be extremely helpful in editing.

Grammarly has been a wonderful and in depth website that has a myriad of things it will search your work for.  It gives you an explanation as to why you don't use that form, and examples as to how to fix it.  The great thing about grammarly is that you can also down load it and import it into microsoft word, so that you don't have to copy and paste your text into their website.

Editminion is a very easy, free to use website that has no bells and whistles at all. But hey, it's free!  It looks for 8-10 major editing issues and gives you a log you can print out with all of the items needing to be corrected.  It also tells you your most used words.  In my 148,000 word book Dead Awakenings, it told me that I use the word "That" over a thousand times.  It is my most used word. Which I found to be quite comical!

This is my favorite website.  I think this website breaks everything down nicely and easily into sections, making it easier to focus on certain areas.  For instance, unlike you can choose to skip over the adverb, section and look specifically at the ending in preposition section.  In Grammarly, it goes from the beginning of your writing to the end, skipping from one grammar rule to the next, instead of focusing on just one at a time.

All in all, these are great resources that I think would benefit any writer trying to get their manuscript the best they can before sending off for submission, or to a professional editor!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cut it, or Create it the Dilemma!

My book Dead Awakenings has begun to generate a small amount of buzz with a few people in the entertainment industry.  Now before we all get too excited, it was just a few.  And they want to see a script.  Uh...yeah... Oh!  And did I mention they want to see it in the next thirty days?

So here I am sitting with my book, trying desperately to get it ready for Christmas publication, and now I have to switch gears completely and write a script.  But not just A script.  I have to write a feature film version as well as a TV series version, with a 5 year synopsis and at least the first 3 episodes written as well.  You know, nothing too major.

Anyway, so as I was sitting pondering these giant castles that I have to build.  I realized that when you adapt a novel in to a movie, you basically have to play the surgeon.  Nipping and tucking and cutting and stitching everything smaller an smaller to fit inside a beautiful 90-120 minute movie.

And when you write a TV series, you are a creator.  There is so much more time.  So you can take those smaller characters and write them their own stories.  Make them bigger, play with their lives more.  You can show more from the bad guys points of view.  Give them back story and real lives.  All those things that you leave out in a novel, you can now put in, in a TV series. 

So I find myself being sad, that I will have to be a surgeon, but excited at the prospect of being a creator!  And so now, I am off to work on outlining these two castles to try and bring them to life in the next 30 days! 

Pray for me!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It has Begun!

When I first heard the idea from a friend, four years ago, about a book premise that publishers said they were looking for, I was intrigued.  For days it sat in my mind, like a small flickering ember.  I tried and tried to blow on it and make it grow.  But it didn't work.  Finally I settled on just not letting it die out.

But after a couple of weeks, the embers still glowed and I got an idea.  I got a bit of kindling and sat it on top.  Those idea kindlings caught fire!  And the embers glowed brighter and brighter.  Before I knew it I had more ideas, and I placed the sticks ideas on the fire.  When those caught fire in my brain, I was hooked.

Log upon log I stacked on top of my now brightly burning idea, until I had a complete framework of ideas, strung together and burning brightly in my mind.  That framework became my book Dead Awakenings.

And now, four years later, I have taken that framework, structured it, pounded it, nailed it all together into a house surrounding my initial fire.

Yesterday I received my first Beta reader edit on my book.  It was scary, and amazing at the same time.  I received the review and quickly when through the grammatical problems, noting where I had missed a word, misspelled a word (cringe) or had other problems, and thought, Great!  I made it through!

Then came the plot analysis and character analysis session, and it seems that there are a few leaks in my roof, but my foundation is solid and the walls are still intact! 

So onward and upward I go!  Now to patch up the leaks and furnish my house a bit better, making it as grand and glorious as possible before I set it in the hands of my next group of Beta Readers!

A special Thanx To author Darin Calhoun, who has been my first set of eyes on my novel!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

There is a great website called Screenwriting University.  They have tons of free seminars and online help for writers in general, not just screen writers.

Today on their facebook page they posted a link to a new segment called How to writer a deeper scene, even if it is talking heads.  by Hal Croasmun. 

It is a really great piece.  It breaks down the ending scene from Jerry Maguire and explains why it is such a great scene.  I would suggest to everyone, not just screen writers that you take a look at it and listen to the suggestions.

So many times dialog scenes are just exposition, but these tips can help them be something more.
Thanx Hal for writing this piece and Screenwriting U for publishing it!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

7 Ways to Use Brain Science to Hook Readers and Reel Them In

In my world scientists come in only one variety.  Mad.  As I think of a scientist, I think of a man with crazy red hair and a white lab coat, pouring bubbling mixtures from beaker to beaker waiting for color changes and eventual explosions.  Yup!  That's me. (insert evil cackle)

However, This was a very cool and helpful scientific article about how to hook readers, that I thought was well done in a logical way.  Which is interesting for me, because I am more of an emotional person as opposed to a logical person.

But you can't argue with science, right?  Well, this time I can't!  Here are the main points of the article written by :
Lisa Cron is an instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, and author of Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence. Visit her blog.

Here are the seven main points.  If you would like to read the whole article, which I suggest you do if you are a writer, the link is at the bottom of the page.

1. Surprise Us
2. Make Us Feel It
3. Let Us In On The Protagonist’s Goal
4. Only Tell Us What We Need to Know
5. Give Us Specifics
6. Give Us Conflict
7. It Must Make Sense to Us

I loved this article.  It is short and concise and really hits home with what a novel or a screenplay should strive to do, to get an audience to fall in love with it.
Here's the link:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cutting less painful

As I sit listening to the wails of my three year old, who is most despondent from having been told he must clean his room or suffer the execution of his toys into the eternal bid of waste, I think about the cuts I just made to my novel Breeders.  I am struck by the fact that I just cut a seventeen page prologue down to just nine and feel none of the sadness that my wailing son feels.  Therefore I am sure, that it must be a good decision.

I have come a long way over the years.  At first, as a teen writer, I was loathe to cut even a word from my work.  Know that everything that flowed from my brain was pure platinum.  Now, an older and much more season writer I am aware that sometimes, I can add too much.  Therefore leading to a cut.

I like to read fast paced novels without the lag.  Novels that grip you from page one and keep you turning through the night until bleary eyed and mostly incoherent I close the book with bliss on my face, sated by the feeding of books.  Yes, I am a book Vampire at heart.

So when I write a story, and do not find that I myself want to keep turning the pages to see what happens, I know I need to cut.  There are a great many books I have read that I believe could have been better had they simply cut a page or hundred from it.  However, it is not mine to judge.  I can only go forth and cut apart the little slownesses of my own novels to hopefully create works that people want to keep reading.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

First Book Review - Easy by Tammara Webber

Okay!  My first book review on my blog.

Easy - Tammara Webber
A girl who believes trust can be misplaced, promises are made to be broken, and loyalty is an illusion. A boy who believes truth is relative, lies can mask unbearable pain, and guilt is eternal. Will what they find in each other validate their conclusions, or disprove them all?

When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night--but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.

When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

Review -
Let me start by saying I looked at this book for over a month before I finally said, Hey!  It's 4.00 in kindle edition, what are you really out if it sucks?  I waited a month too long to buy it!  The book was great.

The assault scene was hard for me, as someone who went through the aftermaths with a friend who had been assaulted.  That said, I though the author did a good job with it. 

I found the story plot normal, guy loves high school sweetheart, she drops her dreams to follow him, he drops her to sow his oats.  But that is where the basics end with this book.  The new love interest Lucas is such a well written sympathetic bad boy that all you want is for Jacqueline and Lucas to get together.

I found the twists and development of their love story refreshing and sweet.  And the heartbreaking back story to Lucas was not what I was expecting, but very well written.

I give this easy day read 4 out of 5 stars and would read it again and again!

Out with the old...

I finished my fifth draft of Dead Awakenings last night and it was bitter sweet.  Bitter, because I finished, sweet because... I FINISHED!!! 

So now what?  Now I am going to send it to my first beta reader and get his opinion as to what I need to do to change it before I do my last in depth toothbrush on the grindstone editing, and then I will send it out to my other beta readers :)

If you would like to be a beta reader for me just comment here, or on my facebook page or Twitter and I will put you on the list.

So what is next on the docket for me?  Well, I have already begun the next rewrite of my Vampire Romance book Breeders.  I will put up a synopsis in the next couple of days, so stay tuned!

I am off to eat a cookie and then get ready for my Writers Group tonight :)

Monday, July 30, 2012


After days of being gone only to come home to find that my internet and all of my devices hate me, I am finally back online!  The good news to that sad tale, is that I was able to continue on my rewrite of Dead Awakening.  I am now only sixty pages from the conclusion of the book and that much closer to looking for Beta readers and an editor. Yahoo!  I still have a lot of work to do on the book, but I am closer than I have been in a year to finishing it for good.

Along the way I have been trying to find a synopsis for the back cover of the book, without giving too much away.  So I have come up with a very rough draft of a back cover synopsis.  Let me know if this is something you would want to read or not.

When Evaine Michaels wakes strapped to a rusty hospital bed with no memory of who she was, she knows she's in trouble, and things are only going to get worse for Evaine.

Unable to control her new emotional or physical appetites Evaine is torn between unending hunger and unfathomable rages. But it's the undeniably attracted to the beautiful and illusive Luca that has her in even worse shape.

Luca is a greek god of a man who wants nothing to do newborn Evaine, but hard as he tries, neither of them can deny the electric connection when they touch. Or why it is that they can feel each others emotions.

And what will happen when Evaine finally remembers who she was before, and finds out that her high school sweetheart hasn't give up on finding her. Tristan is a millionaire playboy will stop at nothing to get Evaine back, but the journey may lead him to finding out things, that were better left unknown.

As Evaine, Luca and even Tristan try to discover who is experimenting on humans and why, Evaine is forced to choose between the man who makes her feel safe, and the man who's touch ignites her soul.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Time has Come!

You stare into what must be done and suddenly your heart begins to pound just a little bit harder.  You think, I can do this, it's no big deal, but then you feel nauseated, like you just ate week old fish for lunch.  Over and over you go through the motions of preparing.  Trying to convince yourself that it really doesn't matter what anyone thinks, but before you know it your vision is blurring and your head begins to play the theme of Jaws.

Yes, this is the dreaded moment, when, like standing naked in front of a crowd of strangers, you have decided to finally let your writer's group read the first chapter of your book.  This is it, make it or break it time in your emotional journey.  Will they love it?  Will they hate it?  But the bigger question, would they want to read more of it?  That is the real question.

And so it is, with much trepidation and profuse sweating, that I print out ten copies of my novel Dead Awakening and pack up my bag prepared to leave.

I think I will take a relaxing walk down the isles of Barnes and Noble first.  The smell of freshly printed books is so rejuvenating to the senses.  And much easier on the brain when driving than Valium.

Wish me luck.  For better or worse, my only hope, is that they will want to read more!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The First Cut is the Deepest!

Well, I did it.  I didn't think I would, but I have.  I have made my first real, big, deep cut into my book Dead Awakenings.  It was painful, and nauseating, just think the first incision of surgery can make me queasy.  But, I think, that just like when I watch medical dramas, or real operations on television, the second, third and fourth cuts will be easier.

I cut a full five pages from my book today.  It seemed to be very needed at that point in the book.  It had been too long since any real action had taken place, and since the information was essentially told twice, I cut.

I am not a big fan of telling a whole bunch of information at once, in movies or books.  If you need to give information, break it up.  Push it around.  Let it come out of a conversation naturally and over time if possible.  Don't just have someone sit down and say "Okay here's what's going on."  Which is basically what I did.  And of course since I myself hate that, I had to cut it out, like the little cancerous growth that it was.

I know that there will be more cuts, more cancers to weed out, and I can only hope that they will be just as painless as this one was.

Dead Awakenings - Death is just the beginning

How over used is that phrase?  "Death is just the beginning"  Very, overused IMO.  However, it does seem to fit my book Dead Awakenings pretty well.  I am currently over half way through the fifth draft and I am hoping to get to page 300 today in the edit. 

I am also gearing up to take my first chapter to my writers group on Thursday.  That alone is nerve wracking!  I am not yet nervous about it, but give it a day.  By tomorrow I will be a slobbering pile of drool on the floor kicking and screaming and loudly questioning my husband as to why he thought me going to a writers group was such a great idea.

He is correct though, it is a good thing to do.  To get others opinions on my work and what is good and what is mind numbingly stupid.  Hopefully, since it is the fifth draft there won't be too much of the latter.

I am currently working on the synopsis for the back of the book jacket for my book Dead Awakenings.  If I am lucky, I will get that done today as well.  However, all of this sitting and writing is giving me sore wrists, so I am off to relax and enjoy a swim before beginning.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Never Ending Story - A Rewriting Tale

 I am hoping that the fact that my brain is tired of reading my book Dead Awakening, and my eyes burn from scanning for grammatical errors, means that I am close to finishing with my editing.  But I am terrified that it is just my brain and eyes resigning themselves to the fact that they are closer to the starting line, than the finish line.

I am currently working on revision number five and number six simultaneously.  I know, I know, that sounds completely improbable and totally insane, but if I don't do it this way, I may never finish draft six.

So draft five is for minor grammatical problems, plot problems, character development and all other small fixes.  Where as the sixth revision is for strictly grammatical fine tuning.  The sixth revision is  so tedious, especially since I am going chapter by chapter and we working, that I have to have some fun along the way.  So on draft five, I am currently half way through the book, and on the sixth, I have just finished chapter three.

I feel like I am right now stuck in the never ending story.  But I know, that after these two drafts, I will be finally ready to bring in beta readers to help me with new sets of eyes.

So now I just need to fill up on twizzlers and crystal light to get through it.

Change is Good!

It is official!  The Changling has finished taking root in my brain.  Yesterday morning, it was simply a thought.  Then it became a tangible baby seed that rooted and rolled around in my brain all day waiting to find a soft spot that it could root into.  By midnight last night, it found it's soft spot and ever so gently, knowing that I was in a weakened mental state of fatigue, wormed it's way it and took root.

Now the seed has changed from a embryo into a seedling, and soon threatens to become a full fledged teenager!  Which is exactly what this one wants so badly to be.  A  Young Adult novel.  I have no choice in the matter, the same way I have no choice but to sit back and watch in horror as my beautiful children grow a bit taller each day, a bit more independent, a step closer to leaving my large and fantastical nest.

So now I will finish the screenplay the way that it is, with the father being the main character, because I believe the movie would work much better that way.  But the books will be about the daughter and will be seen through her eyes.  I think it will be quite interesting to write two completely different stories based around the same events.

Now I am off to finish my fifth draft of my book Dead Awakening, so that I can let this new seedling out of my head and onto the page!

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Changling Part 2

So here is a very rough teaser that I came up with this evening for the Screenplay Changling into a YA fantasy novel.  Enjoy!

Skye harbors a secret, one that her mother told her to keep hidden from everyone around her.

She was just a fifteen year old girl, out for a night with friends, when she came home to find that her mother had been murdered and her father is the only suspect. But Skye knows that her father would never be capable of doing the horrible things the police say were done to her mother, even though he too has a tortured past.

With the opening of a mysterious safety deposit box, Skye finds that her mother was not who anyone thought she was. That the man who killed her mother, is now after her as well, for reasons Skye can only imagine.

To stay alive Skye must find out who she really is, who wants her dead, and why she has had to hide her identity a secret. On the run and with the help of people she doesn't even know Skye must decide to flee or fight. And when the mysteriously handsome Taranus shows up and pledges to keep her safe, Skye must decide whether she dares to trust again.

From the small town of Nowhere Massachusetts, to a town that doesn't exist on a map in France, Skye journeys to across the globe to find out that blood isn't always thicker than water.

The Changling

So, I got a totally crazy idea today as I was driving in the car in Los Angeles traffic.  I have a screenplay that I have been writing for about a year on and off.  Mostly off.  And in the beginning I had the main character as a twelve to fourteen year old girl.  However, due to the dynamics of the script and the way it needed to play out, I decided to change the main character half way through to the girl's father instead.  He seemed like a better choice.

But now I am thinking about taking the screenplay and instead turn it into a series of books with the girl being the main character and the books being geared towards YA. 

I have never really wanted or felt I had the mental capability of writing an entire series of three to six books for one character. Mostly due to the fact that I have Adult ADD and like to move from thing to thing quickly and I have so many stories in my head that I want to get out on paper.  But as I drove mindlessly down the same stretch of freeway that I inevitably drive at least three times a week, due to auditions, my mind began to wander to that story and whether or not I could write a series about this girl.  To watch her grow and blossom and love as I am currently watching my own twelve year old daughter do.

So there it is...can it be done effectively... I am not yet sure.  But I am now willing to find out! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Vampires & Werewolves & Zombies!

So, why did I choose that title?  Because that is what I like to read and what I like to write about.  I have currently got three finished novels that are in various drafts of being edited.  A zombie book and two completely different vampire books.  I also have two books that I am halfway finished with one inspired by Lewis Carrol and the other a fantasy book on angels and demons. 

Aside from my adult fiction I have also written five children's picture books that I am currently looking for an illustrator for so I can publish those as well.  My five children's books were inspired by my four beautiful children.

 Soon I will be putting the first chapters of my three finished books on my blog here, so stay tuned.

There once was a girl

There once was a girl, who loved to live in her own world.  In the beginning her world was made up of animals and unicorns, dragons and wizards.  But as the girl grew, soon her world was filled with people she'd never met, places she'd never been, and acceptance she rarely saw.  The girl eventually found her way back to dragons and wizards, paladins and rogues.  Those friends took her to new worlds, other than the ones she had created for herself, and allowed her to experience things beyond her imagination.

As the girl grew into a woman she found solace and love, adventure and great horrors in the worlds of others.  Then one day, when she wasn't looking for it, she found her world again, only this time, her world was filled with Vampires and Werewolves and Zombies.  Angels and Demons, Steampunk and Fantasy.  And from the moment she rediscovered her own  world, she began to create anew.  All the stories that flew around in her head.  Old friends and new.  Villains and heroes.  Strong independent women, and even stronger protective males. 

This is the world in my head, and this is my blog with which to share it in.  Welcome!  And thank you for stopping by.