Author: kdell.

My writer traitsI’m sitting here at my desk thinking … what am I going to work on today? Maybe the sequel to my Harmless series, or a little on the other novel I just started, or a blog maybe. Blog it is! You know –– Ever since I’ve coined myself a ‘writer’ I’ve wondered if it’s changed me in anyway. Or have I always been like this – a ponderer of life, in need of expression. So I’ve decided to make a list what makes me a writer –– and hopefully a good one at that.

 

Do my writer traits match any of yours? animated guestbook gif

 

 

  1. I’m a people watcher! No, I do not stock people, driving around in ones of those creepy, white vans with no windows. Creeping is solely reserved for Facebook. Um yeah … but really … What I mean by ‘people watching’ is I notice things. I notice the moments between friends or total strangers that often go unnoticed. Like the way a person lights up when they see someone or the opposite, they way they deflate. Details from my everyday watching often make it into my books. Don’t worry friends! I’ll change your names in the final draft. 😉
  2. I’m constantly thinking about my characters. What will they do next? If this happened, how would they feel? How would they react? I think about my characters from every possible angle. So much so that they almost jump off the page!
  3. I’m always asking, what’s the back-story? Even if I don’t say it in my story, I always have the cause to every one of my characters reactions.
  4. Coffee and spirits: a writer’s best friend. Don’t go overboard on either, but they can add a little zip to you and your writing when inspiration is lacking.
  5. I have a reading problem. If there’s a group for people who read too much, I’d be a member. Reading in the genre I write in is my favourite (YA) but I stray into others on occasion, broadening my horizons.
  6. Talking ‘shop’ about writing is one of my favorite things. Ask any one of my writer buddies or my friends (who have no interest in writing) how much I annoy them with my chatter about writing. It’s borderline obsessive.
  7. I’m ambitious. I really want to be a published author. And until one of The Greats says, “Hey Katherine, great job!” I will not believe that I have ‘arrived’.
  8. I consider writing to be play and work. I enjoy what I do! Isn’t that the goal in life? Love what you do and you’ll never work a day. It doesn’t feel like that everyday of course, but it’s till a good thing.

 

So that’s ‘writer me’ in a nutshell. What about you? What makes you a writer?

 

I’ve had the opportunity recently to get to know children’s author, Shari Schwarz. Like most of us, she’s struggled with writing and publishing. I’d like to share with you a bit of how she’s come to publish her book, TREASURE AT LURE LAKE. Congratulation Shari! Publishing is a long road traveled and you did it.  ––Katherine––

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Shari Schwarz: My Path To Publication

In my fifth grade diary I have a list of goals written in the back. One is to write a book. And if you know anything about me, you know I love to dream … and I love to work toward my goals.

I started writing my book, THE LEDGE (now renamed to TREASURE AT LURE LAKE), December 10, 2013 after a quick facebook chat with a good friend of mine, Jenda Nye, who is also a writer. She encouraged me to start writing and, bonus! we could be writing partners!Book cover

The idea for my story was totally inspired by my boys and Gary Paulsen’s HATCHET. But I had NO idea what I was getting myself into when I wrote ‘The End’ on my first draft in February 2014, or what would happen when I plugged into the amazing writing community on Twitter in March 2014.

At that time, my parents were the first ones to give me valuable feedback and editing suggestions on my first draft, and I will always be so grateful for their support and guidance. Then, I sent out my first queries to literary agents in March 2014. Literally a year too early, but that’s what the learning process is all about…making lots of mistakes and learning from them. I’m thankful for each mistake along the way because they all have been a part of the path I’m on to becoming a better writer and story teller.

I entered TREASURE AT LURE LAKE in various online contests like #NestPitch, #JustPitchIt, #PitMad, #PitchSlam, #PitchMas, Operation Awesome, #AgentMatch, #SecretShop, Sub it Club pitch party (and those are just the ones I received requests from agents on) and queried widely over the next six months. Early on in the query process I received two “R&R” (revise and resubmit) requests–one from an editor and one from an agent. While neither of them panned out in the end, they offered sound and generous advice that helped me shape the early drafts of TREASURE AT LURE LAKE.

In the fall of 2014, after getting feedback from at least 30 critique partners, getting numerous rejections from agents and just a couple of bites (requests for fulls), I went to the Rocky Mountain SCBWI conference with my friend, Emily Moore, who I also met on Twitter but then got to know in real life! I learned so much at the conference, and Emily really helped me brainstorm ideas for some major changes in the story that got me excited again after enduring so many rejections of my work. It’s not easy putting your heart and soul into something and having a hundred people tell you ‘no, not quite right.’

One side of wisdom might say it’s time to throw in the towel, but this is a hard business to break into, so I kept plugging away. I had so many people encourage me to press on, not give up and try again!

http___www.pixteller.com_pdata_t_l-371543In December 2014, after a couple of close calls with agents, I nearly gave up on TREASURE AT LURE LAKE. I had also finished writing the first draft of a new book and started on another. Discouraged and heartbroken, I went for a long hike where I stomped and cried and yelled at God. Why is this so hard? So frustrating? I hated getting my hopes up over and over again each time an agent seemed interested only to be let down and disappointed when they said no.

So, I decided to let go and self-publish. By that time, I knew there were problems with my book, but I just couldn’t give up on Jack and Bryce (the boys in the story). I felt free and excited and a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of self-publication!

But then, in January 2015, an amazing online friend and critique partner, Sarah Floyd, told me not to give up and took a once over of the first few chapters of my manuscript. With her feedback, I was inspired to revise again and send out a small batch of queries. Full manuscript requests started to come in. I sent out more queries. More fulls were requested. Lots of waiting ensued!

So, back to the revision board…again and again. In March, one of my original critique partners, Sally Hughes Doherty, read through TREASURE AT LURE LAKE and gave me a thorough http___www.pixteller.com_pdata_t_l-371555evaluation of my book which shed bright light on some problem areas I still had. With her brilliant advice, I revised again. A couple of contests and a few more full requests later, I felt like I was on the right track.

By this time, I wasn’t as prone to discouragement; my skin had grown thick. Plus, I had started reading manuscripts for a literary agent and could now see firsthand the numerous ways in which a manuscript just doesn’t cut it even if it is good writing or an amazing story. The idea of self-publishing became more and more of a possibility to me, and I started to research it.

Then one day, I saw an #MSWL call for submissions by an editor, Ashley Gephart, at Cedar Fort Publishing and decided to send TREASURE AT LURE LAKE to her on May 11th, 2015. By the end of May, I was completely shocked to receive an email saying they had accepted my story for publication! I literally could not believe it at first. I think I read that email ten times before it sunk in that it was real — not spam or a joke or someone who was going to change their mind a few days later.

After researching Cedar Fort, asking a million questions, talking to one of their authors and going through the contract, I’m thoroughly blessed and honored to say that I signed with Cedar Fort’s general release fiction. TREASURE AT LURE LAKE is set for release on April 12, 2016.

UntitledShari Schwarz lives in Colorado with her husband and their four boys. TREASURE AT LURE LAKE is her debut middle grade adventure which reflects her love for a good adventure story and spending time hiking and camping in the Northern Colorado Rockies.

Contact Info:

Email: sharilschwarz@aol.com
Blog: http://www.sharischwarz.com
Twitter: @sharischwarz
Facebook: Shari Schwarz
Goodreads: Treasure at Lure Lake
Amazon: Where to get the book!

Let me introduce you all to Lucy, from The Blode Writer. Now – I’m  always searching for my next amazing author to interview to write, and her blog caught really my eye. To be more specific, her blogs caught my eye. On www.blondewritemore.com there are three blogs: The Diary of Roxy Collins, The Writing Club, and another one that’s a bit more general, all of which are written by Lucy. My interviews, they usually consist of authors who write traditional or indie published fiction novels, but this time I wanted to explore the inner workings of a bloggers brain.  So – lets start off with Lucy telling us a bit about yourself.

LucyI am writer and a blogger. I am a mother, wife and cat owner.
Writing has always been a huge part of my life. As a child I used to sit in my Dad’s garage and create my own libraries by writing my own books. Writing has stayed with me throughout my life; when I was at university I used to write long and elaborate letters home which apparently made my mother roar with laughter. Tales of me not being able to cook, wash my clothes without dying them or generally look after myself made her morning coffee sessions (sigh!). I would like to point out that I was a nightmare teenager and spent all my time partying or in bed when my mother was giving out ‘life lessons’. In some respects this was her revenge. When I was pregnant with my two children I let my pregnancy hormones go wild and I wrote some amazing stuff.
In April 2014 I created my blonde blog. After turning 40 I decided to take writing seriously. I read that to be an author you need an online platform and a novel. The novel bit seemed to hard so I thought I would do the online platform bit first. My blog has grown and so too has my online following. I now need to finish my novel and fulfil my childhood dream.
I like writing comedy. I think we all lead busy lives and some days we just want someone to make us smile. I am a big fan of smiles.
I am currently writing two comedy series and a thriller novel.
Tell us a bit about what each blog is about.

the-art-of-blocking-out-literary-noise-1The Diary of Roxy Collins: I used to read a lot of Chick Lit. I was obsessed by the genre at one point. Then I started to grow tired of female heroines who were stick like, beautiful, rich and amazing mothers. They had fab husbands and were so far away from reality it drove me potty. I wanted to read about someone who struggles through life, doesn’t have it easy but who survives.
Roxy is my single mother, thirty something, has three kids and two useless ex partners. She’s one of life’s survivors; she has little money, lives in a run down rented house, works full time in an office and is trying to find love third time around. I love writing her and one day I might turn her into a book. For now she is someone who makes me smile!

The Writing Club: I think writers make fabulous comedy characters. We are all intense, emotional and a bit odd. I attended a writing group a few years ago and it gave me so much comedy fodder. There were tears, tantrums and awkward silences. I love the Writing Club because I am getting to know all the characters and they are fun to write about.the-writing-club
Most writers take bits of their everyday lives and weave it in to their writing. Is there any ‘real life’ in your characters? Can you tell us about how you created them?
My characters are a mash up of people I meet in everyday life.
Roxy is based on some of the amazing and inspiring single mothers that I know. I admire their strength and determination to raise their children single handedly.

The characters from the Writing Club are based on some Creative Writing Courses that I have been on and some writers that I have met over the years.

Your blog has a Chic-Lit sort of feel. Do you plan on publishing your blog(s) into a book someday?
I am writing a thriller novel. It’s about a woman who comes back to find her murderer. The story is written from the perspective of her, her best friend and her best friend’s husband. Its set by the sea and I am really enjoying working with the location.

At times I am torn about whether I should stick to writing comedy. I hope to turn Roxy into an E Book later this year.

I love asking this question! If the characters from your writing were cast, what actors would you pick to play them?

This is a great question. Ok here goes – the cast of ‘The Diary of Roxy Collins’:

Roxy Collins – Christina Hendricks from the TV series Madmen. When I think about Roxy it is Christina that springs to mind. She has the fuller figure that Roxy has and that cheeky smile. She also has bags of attitude.

Matilda Collins – This character was inspired by Morgan Saylor in the TV series Homeland. Morgan Saylor plays an amazing troubled teen and this is how I see Matilda.

Shaz – Roxy’s best mate and dating confidante. I see this role being placed by Jessica Hynes, one of my favourite comedy actresses who played Cheryl in the hit sitcom ‘The Royle Family’ – she has the dry sense of humour that I like in a character.
How can readers discover more about you and your writing?

My website: https://blondewritemore.wordpress.com
Facebook: Blondewritemore
Twitter: @Blondewritemore
Pinterest: Blondewritemore
Instagram: Blondewritemore

Do you have any tips from people trying to create a successful blog?
I would recommend blogging to anyone. My tips are:
– Find a niche subject and stick to it.
– Think of your reader when designing your blog and writing posts. I see too many blogs with huge chunks of text and are a nightmare to navigate around.
– Get on Pinterest ASAP! It brings in traffic. Use bold and colourful photos on each post.
– Be you! Add the personal touch – this is what makes a blog successful.

Are there any other awesome blogs you’ve come across that you’d share with us?
I am a big fan of Sacha Black’s blog – her blog is jam packed full of writing and blogging tips.
http://sachablack.co.uk

img_2779I see that you’ve won some awards for your blogging; can you tell us a bit about them?
In August 2015 I won ‘Funniest Blog’ award in the Annual Blogger’s Bash Awards. This is an award which is voted by the online community. I was relatively new to blogging so didn’t expect to win. It gave me confidence and helped me build my blog.

Thanks for taking the time to chat today. Keep up the great work!

The Method To My Madness: Part 2

Ebbs and Flow

Welcome back! Up to reading more of my writer musings are you?

In part one, I discussed how I write a scene. And how I consider a book to be like a movie: written in scenes not chapters. But lets back up even further from that conversation: a book being a collection of scenes, and think about how to organize a story so it naturally tells it self, creating it’s own ebbs and flows.

What do I mean by that? (I’ll tell you, because that last paragraph sounded like I’ve been hanging out with some yogi in the Tibetan mountains … naturally tells itself?) I’m talking about how your story moves along and (where I would consider) a good place to start a story.

Now I write YA, which is usually a little faster paced than other writing styles. In fact (Listen up this is a good writing tip for YA!), The average teen who reads has a short attention span. (Nooo http___www.pixteller.com_pdata_t_l-313020Waaay!) So you should pace your writing accordingly. (Duh.) Sooo – taking into account a persons average reading speed, you should change what’s happening in your YA story (change the scene, not necessarily the chapter) every ten minutes. No need to time yourself reading it! Just keep this tid-bit in mind when you’re writing. There is no magic word count number! I.e.: Hmm, it’s been about ten minutes of reading … time to throw a wrench it to things!

A change in the story doesn’t have to be big. There’s no need to go all Game of Thrones on your readers and kill off a character! Your changes can be a little subtler than that. Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Change the perspective. I.e.: Your character is in a bedroom cluttered with things. She picks out an old leather jacket from the closet, remembering who gave it to her. The scene changes from her in her bedroom holding the jacket, to a flash back of a memory of who gave it to her. Present to flash back.
  2. A character that hasn’t spoken or interacted yet, finally speaks up. Perhaps what they say gives the reader a new take on the situation. I.e.: They comment on what happened the previous night and it catches the main character off guard. “Oh my! I never knew he felt that way!”

More thoughts on story ebbs and flows …

Before I started writing HARMLESS, I read a lot of books on how to write fiction ‘well’. I daydreamed and took notes about my story for what seemed like forever before I put fingers to keyboard. There was a diagram in one of the books I read about the flow of a novel. I’ll be dammed if I could find the book, so I’m going to attempt to draw the diagram for you from memory.

Wait – I need to say one more thing before I get into this diagram. Okay – I have my big story idea in my head. It goes something like this. Girl goes through traumatic loss of her brother. Girl’s parents’ get a divorce. Girl moves from big city to small town … and girl unleashes ancient spirit that possesses her friend. (Whew, quite the jump there at the end.)

http___www.pixteller.com_pdata_t_l-313735So that’s my story in a very tiny nutshell.

Back to the diagram now! In this very informative book of writing tips, that I no longer seem to have in my collection, it said – start with a hook. The hook being – the moment when you have the reader! And put it in the first ten minutes of your book!

The hook in my story is ‘girl unleashes ancient spirit’. Chronologically, there is a lot of story that comes before the unleashing moment, but I don’t have time for that in this first part. I only have ten minutes to hold the dwindling attention of my reader. So all that super cool back story will have to wait. I only have time for essentials!

 

My super cool drawing!

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I’ve numbered the diagram to make this a little easier to explain.

  1. As you can see, right away in my storyline diagram, the excitement, the engagement, goes up. This is my moment of no return. Something happens that alters my characters plotted life course! Yeeee! Exciting!
  2. We are past the exciting hook. Things may have settled for the moment. The main character is flooded with questions and possibilities. What will happen next? Then BAM! A quarter through your story should be another big exciting moment. Wow didn’t see that coming! Now there is no ignoring what could have been coincidence. The plot thickens! (Insert evil laugh here.)
  3. The middle of your story. Don’t let it get saggy! IF YOU ARE BORED WRITING, THEY ARE BORED READING! Never forget that. The middle of your story is just as important as any other parts. I like to get into what I call ‘mini stories’ in the middle. Those awesome nerd-nuggets, back story, gems that will keep your reader going. I.e.: weave in a flashback, explain a quirk, debunk a myth! The mini story bits are endless.
  4. Building tension like the impending crash of a freight train. Then BOOM, the ending! An event which if your character survives is forever changed … not always for the better. All parts of a book can be tricky to write, but endings are what you leave your reader with. I’ve heard that, what people remember most about a book is not what it was about, but what feelings it left them with. What feelings will you leave them? It’s a bigger question then you think. One more pearl of wisdom when writing endings … I heard this at an event where Veronica Roth and Tahereh Mafi where speaking. Veronica Roth said that her editor told her, “You will find your end in your beginning.” Best advice ever! Ponder that for a while when you are having trouble with your ending.
  1. The tail-end. I like to keep this short and sweet. Say something poetic and call it a day. Some readers might want to know what happens ‘after’. But I say, if your readers want more – write book two.

So that’s my pictorial tutorial on the ebbs and flows of a YA story. But I’m not quite done yet … here is my tail-end.

Diagrams, tips, tricks and other things with help you figure out the intricacies of what good writing is. BUT the only way to go from being good to great, as with most anything – is to do it! So write, every day, even if you don’t feel like it.

Wow! That just sparked an idea for my next Method To My Madness Blog! Writing when you’re not in the mood: You aren’t always sunshine and rainbows, and neither are your characters!

 

Good writing and good reading to you all.

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The awesome Victoria Griffin from Victoria Griffin Fiction has tagged me in a fun Valentine’s Day blog hop!
 
You don’t need to be tagged to participate! So if you are reading this – join in and have a whole lot of valentine fun!
  1. Favorite Love-Story book? Hmmm … A memorable series that comes to mind – Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.
  2. Share your best Valentines day memory? I’m not one to kiss and tell. 😉 Especially not on the internet!
  3. Favorite fictional hero/heroine? There are so many! Evan Walker – Fifth Wave, Eve  – Anna Carey’s Eve, and Juliette and Warner – Shatter Me.
  4. What story has the best most memorable romantic moment; kiss, proposal, etc.? The last book in the Shatter Me series, Ignite Me, between Juliette and Warner. Swoon!
  5. What is your all time favorite Romantic movie? I don’t watch a lot of romantic movies, but I’d have to say Hope Floats. It’s one that’s stuck with me. Or Maybe Train Wreck! Hahaha!
  6. You can go anywhere for a romantic getaway (fiction or non-fiction,) where do you go? Somewhere in Europe involving the countryside, castles and wine.
  7. Who do you want to be your valentine? My hubby is my only valentine. :)
  8. Chocolate or flowers? Hard call … I have expensive taste in both.
  9. Novels: Romance or Adventure? Adventure, but I’m a sucker for young love.
  10. What fictional villain, do you secretly love? I’m in love with the villain in my own book, Mason Allen! Ask my editor.

Let the Tagging begin!
I tag:

To participate: Copy and Paste the following in your blog to participate in this tag.
Cupid’s Book-Lover Tag

The Rules:
1. Tag the creator (AbbieLu @ Cafe Book Bean)
2. Have fun answering the questions.
3. Tag 5-10 people to join in the fun.
4. Thank & link those who tag you.
5. Don’t worry about the rules!
You don’t need to be tagged to participate, so join in and have a whole lot of valentine fun!

 

Dark Fantasy is not my usual genre of choice, but I’m so glad I took the chance on this book!

Where do I start …

necroThe main characters, Maldren (love the name) and Ayla, aren’t your ‘A’ typical heroes. Maldren, is a bit of a buck the tides, head strong, Necromancer. He has ambitions for promotion in his guild, but keeps getting passed over. For those of you who don’t know what a Necromancer is, it ‘s – in general, a magic practiced by a witch or sorcerer. This magic centers on being able to communicate and/or conjure magic in regards to the dead.

Ayla, is Maldren’s new apprentice. She’s young, from a rich family, inexperienced … everything that gets on Maldren’s “got-to-go” list. But – things change, the story develops, and you can’t help falling in love with both these characters.

Each scene is vividly written, taking the reader there; to the battles, to the sewers, and back to places a little less rough around the edges. Many times when reading this book, I found myself glancing back at the cover. Graeme Ing couldn’t have picked a better image for this story!

I give this book a 4 out 5! And would recommend it to any fantasy loving reader.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So … being that my manuscript is finally finished (YEAH!), and is waiting to be discovered, I now have more time to do other stuff – like sit and stew. But really – I’m not moping around staring at my phone and email waiting for it to go off … waiting … waiting for the infamous call. Okay – I’m not good at waiting.

But I’m finding ways to keep busy – like writing this blog! I got the idea to write this after it was suggested to me that I help run a writers workshop for a local woman’s group. There was a workshop template I could use, or I could change it up as I saw fit. This got me thinking – How can I make this workshop unique? How can I make it my own?

The only way I know how! By sharing how I write a novel. Yes, yes – I know people have done this before. There are a million billion self-help writer books out there. But that’s not what I’m looking to do in this series of blogs. I’m not wanting to give you writing tips. I am wanting to let you into my inner madness. To show you how (specifically) my unique way of writing is achieved.

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If this blog were up to my editor, she might say that I have the ability to channel characters from a fictional dimension. #TheFictionalDemension (I’m going to make this hashtag trend one day!) But that’s not the case … entirely. :) Wouldn’t that be cool though!

Any who, moving along …

In this blog, I’m going to keep it pretty general, or at least try. And then in the ones to follow, I’ll start to really dissect my writer’s brain, showing you where the crazed little hamster runs on the wheel!http___www.pixteller.com_pdata_t_l-300685

So – back when I started writing I didn’t have a whole lot of rhyme or reason about why I wrote the way I did. But now that I’ve been at it for a while I’ve started to notice the patterns in the way I do things.

http___www.pixteller.com_pdata_t_l-300696Let’s start with how I would write the beginning of a scene. Yes, I called it a scene, not a chapter. That’s because when I read a book (if it’s a well written book), it plays like a movie in my head. I can mentally see the characters interacting in their little world.

Now – I’m a bit of a free writer, by that I mean I don’t make huge, intricate outlines. What I do is a little more organic. In my notebook (coil bond, paper … I’m old school like that), I write out a few key points. This page often turns in to a scribbly mess but as long as you can read it that’s all that’s important. I start with the most basic things – Who is in the scene? This part is usually easy. I know which characters need to be there, which ones haven’t been seen in a while, and which ones might have some unfinished business.

Then I write down, in point form, what I need to get across in this scene. For example, the main character is very secretive about her life before moving to this small town. She’s doesn’t express her feelings well, she’s awkward, and the only time she’s ever opened up about her painful past was to a therapist, whom she can’t see any more because of the move.

Point form:

  • She (main character) is awkward
  • She doesn’t express her feelings well
  • She has a secret past
  • She’s spent years with a therapist, that she is heart broken to leave.

(These particular examples pertain to writing the first chapter in my novel. Maybe you don’t care … but it keeps me focused telling you this as I write.)

When introducing this character, I need to get across all these things, BUT without actually telling the reader or dumping too much on them all at once. Not easy! But I’ve gotten better at it. It’s the whole – ‘show don’t tell’ thing. :)

To help ‘ show’, I’ve given my main character, Rachel, a few quirks and objects in her environment.

  1. Cardboard boxes: A simple and an effective way to hide things out in the open. Give a person a whole bedroom stacked with unopened boxes, that have been there for months – and you now have a proverbial ‘elephant in the room’. The cardboard boxes gave me a way to show the reader that Rachel was hiding something. It lets the reader in on a secret without sharing all the details with the other characters (her friends by association), while still making something seem ‘off’. She is reluctant to share what is inside the boxes with her friends. (Conveying her secretiveness about her past.)
  2. Expressing her emotions through weather analogies: I wanted to show the reader the relationship my main character had with her past therapist. So I gave the therapist a nickname, The Weather Lady. (In my world, you give people you love the most a nickname.) This ‘Weather Lady’ would analyze Rachel by using analogies about the weather. I think using this in my story adds depth, backstory, and invites the reader to use their imagination about what the main character is thinking. It also keeps these feeling to the reader and the main character, because she is shy, closed off, and all around messed up.
  3. An inner monologue, that occasionally comes out: Something the therapist tried to cure Rachel of, without success. I myself have a constantly running inner monologue. This quirk is a little bit of me seeping in to my character. I think it’s an awesome way to share with your reader, while keeping secrets from other characters.

Now that I have my list of characters in the scene, the points I need to get across, and a few things in the environment, I start to think about how I’m going to share this part of the story with the reader. A good way to figure out ‘how’ is to ask a few questions.

For example:

  • Are the characters in the scene hearing something? A radio, A TV?
  • Is someone talking in the background?
  • Is a character dreaming or thinking about it in their mind?
  • Would a flash back best tell this tale?
  • Are the characters in a conversation?
  • First, second, or third person?

After I’ve figured out where my scene stating point is, I let my characters take it from there. If you know your fictional characters well enough, they’ll know what to say and do. :) #TheFictionalDimension Make it trend people!

Okay! I hope that all made sense and you’re hungry for more. Next time, I think I’ll write on how I develop a fictional character.

Thanks for reading!

Good writing and good reading to you all.

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What's NextWhat’s Next: Part 3

It’s been a while since I’ve written a ‘What’s Next’ blog … so I’m about due to write one again!

Lets see …

First – I learned that you can have the best book ever, but if you can’t hook your reader in the first few pages, most people will never know it’s the best book ever. Thus – I spent a month editing chapter one into a lean mean … um … chapter. Those first pages can be tricky! You have to set the stage, so to speak. And my first chapter has five characters in it. It was quite the challenge, making sure each character had their own voice right from the start. Also, getting just the right amount of back-story without dumping everything out was a precarious balance to find. But I think I did it.

I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here. I couldn’t have attempted another rewrite on my manuscript without my new editor! I was confident that my work was good, but I wanted it to be great! (I dream big!) I needed someone who was as big a fan of my characters as me, but possessed editing talents that I do not. She found me – or vice versa. It doesn’t matter … It was a fantastic experience, from which I learned a ton. For example – The subtle nuances between American, Canadian, and UK grammar and spelling. No matter how long I write, I think I’ll always need help this sort of thing.

So – after the editing, and the editor, I now have a solid handle on where I want my book to go. And I have a plan on how to get it there. As many authors know, publishing is a confusing, and can be, cruel world. It involves a lot of ‘hurry up’ and ‘wait’. But patience and perseverance will see you through a lot of that.

Another thing that got finished this month was my book trailer! It’s been a while in the making, but well worth the effort. I’d recommend my graphic artist to anyone. She’s a visual arts genius! I’ve learned so much about stock footage, voice overs, and music. And I’m so dying to show it to everyone! But alas … this gem isn’t going online until just before the book is released. Unfortunately, I don’t have a release date yet.

What else can I tell you about my woes to becoming a published author…

I’m back on the bandwagon, creating more high quality content like this for my website! I’m writing blogs, contacting authors for interviews, and sourcing out interesting guest bloggers! Keeping up my website is an important part of an authors platform. These days, an online presents is so crucial! Who knew there would be so much other stuff to writing a book … other than writing a book?

A new thing I’ve started doing in preparation to having published book, is getting more involved in my local writing community, as a presenter. I’m just working out details to lead a four-day writers course put on by a local woman’s foundation. And I’m looking into getting on a panel or two at the next When Words Collide in August.

Interesting fact: When I was a kid, I used to compete at public speaking. I made it up to provincial levels once! Public speaking isn’t always considered the ‘coolest’ of hobbies, but I’m sure glad I learned those skills early on.

Last but not least …

dreamstime_m_22497074The most awesome thing I’ve done, (in terms of my writing) in the past few weeks is – I submitted a query to the agent. For some that might not seem overly epic, but to me it is. After all the beta-readers, editors, failures and successes – I finally have a manuscript that I’m proud of.

It gives me terrible butterflies to finally be at this point, which is probably normal. Who wouldn’t be nervous, sharing with the world something that took years to create? But – my work is ready to get out there, on stage, and do it’s thing! I just hope, that with all my efforts that the critics will be kind and throw roses, not rotten vegetables.

To all the other writers out there that keep on pursuing their dreams … I hope you get roses too!

Good reading and good writing to you all!

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Hello fellow readers!

Katherine (30)It’s the first week of January 2016 and I’m doing my best to fall into some semblance of a routine. (Insert dramatic sigh here.) Semblance being the operative word …

The first day of the month started off like the day before it, sleeping in past any normal adult should. Not because I partook in any New Year’s festivities, but because I’m a smart mom who believes in the idea of banking sleep … at least I want to believe. So far, sleeping in is only proving to fuel my night owl tendencies.

Any who, on to what I wanted to say! Getting back into this writing and blogging thing is tough stuff!

For the entirety of 2015, I was blessed to have the company of my husband at home with me, 24/7. Some of you might think that’s not such a blessing, but the two of us get along like ketchup on Kraft Dinner! ☺ I like that analogy ☺

So, it’s been a year of doing all those things we’ve always wanted to do but never had time for. Traveling! Finishing my book! Living all will-nilly like gypsies! BUT now – it’s back to reality. He’s back at a 9-5 and so am I – so to speak. Being a stay-at-home super mom/writer extraordinaire is more between the hours of awake and asleep.

These last few days of settling into a new schedule have been interesting ones. Let me browse you through the highlights.

My computer.

2015-11-02 12.22.54My giant, twenty-seven inch Mac desktop has been my buddy for four years. It’s never given me a problem or reason to doubt it until recently. But now it seems to have decided it would rather be a tanning bed than my word processor.

Now … it’s winter, and I do appreciate the radiant heat coming for my monitor, but it’s probably not good for either of us. So, I unplugged Big Mac and took him to get fixed.

After hours of waiting (not sure why they made me book an appointment – they obviously didn’t understand the meaning of the word), I got to speak to a tech. He ran his tests and everything came back normal. What? Not that I wanted to be told my computer was one micro-process away from going nuclear, but I wanted a better answer than that.

I left Big Mac overnight for a more thorough run through and again got an all clear, good to go, stamp of approval.  One thing the tech mentioned was, when a Mac desktop overheats, nine times out of ten, all you need to do is disconnect it completely from its power source for a while.

What did I learn from all this? What does it have to do with getting back into my routine? I’m getting to it …

The dog.

2014-05-28 11.21.02My sweet-hearted, geriatric dog has a few quirks. One, being his super power to shed profusely, and the other is his refusal to drink water from any dish known to man. I’ve combatted his shedding and distaste for hydration with regular grooming and crafty ways of increasing his fluid intake.

After complaining to the groomer and vet for the millionth time about his drinking habits (that kind of sounded like my dog needs AA.), they ran more tests on him at my request. Which came back perfectly normal! Not that I’d want a different result – just an answer for why he won’t drink water!

So he went in for his grooming, and the groomer asked me if I wanted his glands expressed. Yuck – better her than me to do it. I Googled it … the DIY method recommended wearing a welding apron, full arm-length gloves, and goggles. I might be a super mom but I was not going there.

To my surprise, having my dog’s ‘reset’ button expressed fixed all his quirks! Except for the shedding one. He no longer has the power to hydrate himself by osmosis but I like him better this way.

So what am I getting at talking about life changing routines, computer problems and an often dehydrated dog?

Here it is …

People can tell you till they’re blue in the face what normal is. But until you take a while to disconnect and press that reset button, you’ll never know what your daily version of that is.

Happy New Year, everyone! Never deviate from your own special kind of awesome!

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*I was given an advance read copy of this book for a fair and honest review.*

 

I like to write book reviews as soon as I finish reading the book, while it’s all still fresh in my mind. Though it’s been a few days since I’ve finished this one, I’m am not worried about forgetting it’s intricacies. This is one of those books that stays with you for a while. The characters, their trials, the love, the heartache; choices made by fictional characters that by the end of the book are all too real.

The Edge of Nowhere, a historical fiction novel by C. H. Armstrong, that will take you on a journey of what it was like for a young widow and her combined fourteen children and stepchildren to survive in the 1930’s dust bowl era.

Spoiler Alert!

 

The beginning of the story starts with a letter written by grandmother, Victoria Hastings. At the end of this prologue there is a line that sums up the entire book so beautifully.

“Remember me not as your hostile and overbearing grandmother, but as a woman who refused to be a victim.”

Indeed, Victoria Hastings, refused to become a victim. Through harsh circumstances, Victoria survived to become a woman, almost emotionally unrecognizable from her youth. This story will make you feel the love, hate, and everything in between that Victoria felt.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars! And would recommend it to anyone who likes women’s fiction, or historical fiction.