Tuesday, December 27, 2011

fReado: A Fun Place for Readers and Authors

fReado is the world’s biggest book-winning site for book lovers. To win books, you play a simple game, accumulate points and use those points to bid for prizes (including Kindles and iPads).
One of the fun games is called Covermatcher where you match book cover and can win books. This game is great for authors because it gets exposure for your cover and good for readers because you can find new covers to investigate.



Another game is Hangman. Based on a wide variety of topics, you answer several items to acquire points. And authors can create games in order to display their cover art.

And recently the website added Quick Quizzes. For an author you create a five-question quiz on any topic. At the bottom of each answer page your book appears! Ten times! For readers, it’s just a game and a way to accumulate points which allows the player to choose prizes.

It’s win-win and fun-fun.

As an author, I pay $9 a month to showcase my Odessa cover, but I have created quizzes advertising all of my books as well as Facebook pages. This site is worth every penny for the exposure I receive. I also receive weekly emails listing how many times my cover was shown and how many clicks it received.




Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Use Your Winter Break Wisely


By YA author Andrea Buginsky

Winter break is coming up for students, and for those of you who write, it will provide not only a break from studies, but also an ample opportunity to get some writing done. But since the break is only a few weeks long, you’ll want to use your time wisely.

First, set yourself a schedule. Input any family events that are taking place during your break, as well as plans you’ve made to spend time with friends. Now, look at your calendar, and see what you have open. Mark down specific blocks of time you’d like to use for writing on your calendar. It’s a good idea to post a copy of this on the refrigerator or your bedroom door to remind your family not to disturb you during your writing time.

Now that you have your holiday writing schedule set up, it’s time to get organized to take the most advantage of it. Plan on what you’d like to write about. Do you currently have a story you’ve been longing to get back to? Outline a few chapters or make some notes on what you’d like to write over your break. Do you have ideas for new stories? Plot them out with note cards or a story map. Anything you can plan in advance so you can sit down and actually write will allow you to be more productive during your writing time.

Once your scheduled writing time approaches, make sure you have a quiet place to work. If you have your own bedroom, this is the perfect place. Close your door, post a “do not disturb” sign on it, sit down at your desk, and get to work. If you share a room with a sibling, talk to him or her in advance about arranging an activity during your writing time so you can have the room to yourself.

Unfortunately, interruptions can’t always be helped. If you do find yourself losing some of your writing time, don’t fret. Get back on your schedule as soon as you can, and dig in to the work. The more you can relax and not worry about the interruptions, the more work you’ll get done. Have fun, and enjoy your break!

Andrea Buginsky is the author of "The Chosen," available from Solstice Publishing. On sale for the Amazon Kindle for the holidays for 99 cents!


Friday, December 9, 2011

A New Style of Writing or A New Twist on an Old Style?

Not too long ago, a dear friend asked me to co-author a project with her. She planned to collect four novellas she would release as a novella collection, romantic at that (not my typical style, but it was a fun stretch). We worked and plotted until the four novellas were finished, but what we had at the end wasn't a typical romantic novella collection. Instead we had four linked stories. Ever read a series of linked stories? Until now, me neither.

From my understanding, linked stories are stories that have their own plots, their own characters, their own story elements, but they are interconnected by a common thread. In our book, A Summer in Oakville, the novellas are linked by a common goal: the desire to help the  Grandparents of the characters save their heritage. Each story builds on that link so by the end of the book, its as if you read five stories not four. The fifth story unravels as the book is read as a whole.

Writing linked stories has its benefits, especially if you find a like-minded co-author to write with you. You get to write with a friend **big bonus.** You have to plot and plan ahead which can translate into less editing later provided you read and critique each others work. Not to mention all the fun spent at your favorite coffee place during the plotting, planning, and critiquing time. You also have the benefit of bouncing all your ideas, all those 'what-if' questions, off someone just like you, another writer.

Linked story-telling became so much fun, I decided to take a similar challenge to a writing class I'm teaching at the EDGE (our local teen center). This year they are each member is to write a novella, but those novellas must maintain a link. You should hear the ideas they're throwing around. Imagine a classroom setting as the link. Every character meets back in the class, but each story is unique to their character. Oh they may bump into each other in separate stories or have secondary characters in common, but their tales are as unique as each writer/novella.  AND each novella adds to the story that unfolds inside the classroom. Sound interesting?

If writing a full-length novel intimidates you, has you frozen mid-type, try writing a series of shorter, linked stories. Better yet, grab a writer friend and split the work. Do it together and see what develops.



What linked story would you write? Where would your link be?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Nines: A Movie Review

I thought for this posting I would write a review of one of my most favorite movies. This movie will knock your socks off. It has one of the most unusual formats I've seen in a movie--and I see A LOT of movies. Between the way it is organized and the general theme, I can't watch it enough.

The Nines (2007)
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Hope Davis, Melissa McCarthy, Elle Fanning
This intriguing film debuted at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival
The Nines feels like an Indie film with its artsy concept. Divided into three ‘Acts’, each reveals more and more of the concept until by the end of the movie the viewer understands the main character’s motivation. The acting is superb, keeping the story suspenseful throughout.

"Part One: The Prisoner" tells of a troubled actor, Gary, who is wearing a green string tied to his wrist. This string carries through the entire movie until its significance is revealed and the viewer goes, “Ohhhh.”
Gary is under house arrest living in another person's house (who is away) because he burned down his own. P.R. 'handler', Margaret (Melissa McCarthy) moves in to keep Gary out of trouble, and the single mom next door, Sarah (Hope Davis), tries unsuccessfully throughout the movie to separate Gary from Margaret. Gary finds a note in his own handwriting saying "Look for the nines". He also sees flashes of different versions of himself around the house. He becomes obsessed with finding nines in the newspaper and elsewhere. Asking Sarah about ‘9’, worries her and she cryptically tells him "I can get you out of here".

"Part Two: Reality Television" tells of a television writer, Gavin (Ryan again), trying to get his pilot made. The show, Knowing, is about a mother (Melissa) and daughter (Elle Fanning) who are lost. Susan (Hope Davis again), a television executive, tells Gavin to look for the nines which he then writes on a piece of paper, the same piece which Gary found in Part One. Susan pushes for Gavin to ditch Melissa as lead actress, in favor of a more attractive, well-known actress. This causes an argument between him and Melissa. After a heated exchange with Susan, he slaps her in the mouth. Insulting his manhood for hitting a woman she scoffs "Do you think you are a man"? She walks away, which leads to him telling the reality TV cameraman to leave him alone. A pedestrian then asks him who he is talking to—the cameraman doesn’t exist. He notices for the first time everyone has a ‘7’ floating above their heads while he has ‘9’ floating above his own head.
A flashback reminds him what the numbers mean.

"Part Three: Knowing" tells of an acclaimed video game designer, Gabriel (Ryan), whose car breaks down in the middle of a forest. Gabriel leaves his wife, Mary (Melissa), and young daughter, Noelle (Elle) who doesn’t speak, to try to get a better signal on his phone. He meets a woman, Sierra (Hope), who leads him off into the woods to her ‘car’, so she can give him a lift to the gas station. Meanwhile back at the car Noelle watches a video on a digital camera showing Gavin talking to Melissa from Part Two and Margaret talking to Gary in Part One. She is confused and shows her mom, who appears confused as well.
Meanwhile Sierra holds an intervention for Gabriel, trying to get him to snap out of his delusion and return to ‘his’ reality.

That is as far as I can go without giving away the twist. But suffice it to say, if you enjoy a movie you have to think about and one that will stick with you weeks and months later, this is that movie.
5/5 stars
Rebecca Ryals Russell

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Exiled Autumn's Peril... character interview...

Creating characters is half the fun of writing a novel. When they come alive for you then you know they are more than just cardboard cutouts, or 2 dimensional characters. So, to see how well we know our characters, lets see if we can arrange an interview with Caleath, the hero of the Science Fiction Fantasy ‘Exiled: Autumn’s Peril'.

The novel is set on the planet of where Caleath has been surviving in exile. This is a planet where nano-technology is considered magic, while magic is considered commonplace and doesn’t involve microchips or gene enhancement.

Right... This is embarassing. I think we know Caleath a little too well.
He is nothing if not reclusive. Never mind, at least he's behaving in character. That's something. Pity. He would make an interesting guest. Still.. all is not lost.  In the meantime, we have managed to make contact with Nasith, the female lead character from the novel. Let's see what we can learn about our character/s from talking to her.

Interviewer: Nasith, thank you for taking time to talk with us.

Nasith: Hello. Are you a disembodied spirit or another of Caleath’s alien artifacts? He’s no longer with us. South. He rode south. Alone.

Interviewer: Easiest answer would be ‘an artifact’. Nasith, you sound disappointed that Caleath left, yet he took you as a hostage. Would you tell us a little about your experience?

Nasith: I have time on my hands. For once, we are warm and reasonably safe. What would you like to know?

 
Interviewer: First impressions are always interesting. What did you make of being abducted on your way to Sharyac’s Tor?

Nasith: (sighs) Seems like a lifetime ago. So much has changed since then.

Interviewer: The same peril still threatens the south.

Nasith: I guess I mean the way I feel about Caleath. That night I tried to kill him. He’s not easy to kill but I wonder now if my heart was in it. One of the men I traveled with was trying to kill him. I was not.

Interviewer: You tried to kill him? That’s not surprising given the circumstances.

Nasith: Before he grabbed me and threw me across the shoulder of his horse I had no dealings with Caleath, but I knew of his plight.
When he threatened Teale, my hawk, I was more than ready to kill him. He didn't harm her. He wouldn't, but I didn't know that then. If asked at the time I would have said I felt pity for the man. The men who hunted him were driven by dark magic. I had no reason to want to see him hurt, until he used me as a human shield. He bruised my ego, rumpled my pride, nothing else. Now I realize I overreacted, but then it was a dark and desperate night. I felt justified in my actions. Later I came to regret them.
I am rambling. Being clean and able to relax, it’s such a pleasure. What was the question?

Interviewer: We are interested in your first impressions of Caleath. Wanting to hurt him seems natural, since he abducted you.
Nasith: The assassin hunting Caleath gave him little scope for niceties. He took a hostage, me, rather than having to kill the man. I didn’t know that at the time. Then I was afraid. He seemed so angry, frighteningly confident despite being hurt, and somehow vulnerable at the same time. He’s still confusing, but he doesn’t frighten me anymore.

Interviewer: When did your impression begin to change?

Nasith: It was only later, when I managed to get him to talk that I discovered more about him. He actually took good care of me. Despite the hurt I caused. When we faced danger he would protect me, leaving himself vulnerable rather than risk my safety. I was his hostage for only a short time. When he discovered who I was, I believe he saw my presence as a burden but he accepted responsibility even though he says he doesn’t belong on this world.

Interviewer: You knew from the start that he was from another world?

Nasith: The assassin spoke freely about his origins. Only Caleath seemed to find his past a painful topic. Revenge drove him, and the need to escape from this planet. The things he has done, to survive, to escape. I find myself wondering if I know him at all. He confuses me, even now. I miss him and long for his touch one moment and want him out of my life the next. How odd is that!

Interviewer: What does the future hold?

Nasith: Our immediate future is blighted by the looming threat from the south. Here in Sharyac’s Tor we hope to arrange an alliance to combat this unnatural menace. Or do you mean a future that involves Caleath?

Interviewer: I was thinking more along the lines of a relationship between you and Caleath.

Nasith: Some moments I dream of nothing else. As I said, in his arms I feel safe. Looking into his eyes, they are as changeable as the ocean, I am afraid of drowning. I have spent too many hours watching him wondering what makes him do the things he does. The way he moves, it’s almost poetry. A lethal sort of poetry, it’s like watching a predatory cat and it is as compelling. And yet, he has the ability to make me feel extraordinarily special and more sensual than I believed possible. He is considerate, strong, has a depth of compassion I have never seen before. His touch is electric. (sighs) Then I find myself despising him and the lengths he has gone to, the long-term threat of invasion he has created, and I tell myself I am glad he is a dead man walking.

Interviewer: Dead man walking? That’s an odd term for someone who is hard to kill?

Nasith: He took me hostage. My people will see that there is retribution. It does not matter that he took care of me, or that I chose to accompany him in the end. My abduction is unforgivable. He will pay with his life. I cannot let myself become involved. Do you think me heartless?

Interviewer: It is not for me to judge.

Nasith: There, now you sound like him. I think we have spoken long enough. Good night.

(transmission ends)

Well, to learn more of Nasith and Caleath and the adventures they shared in Exiled: Autumn's Peril  visit the website of The Chronicles of Caleath  or Ramblings from Lady Rosalie
There are now three books in the series available from Museitup Publishing Exiled: Winter's Curse and Exiled: The Legacy of Lathraine's Pledge

Thanks for your time... 

Friday, November 11, 2011

What's Your Story?



Shellie Neumeier
Every writer has a story…the story of how they became a writer. As for me, I haven’t been a writer for long, but I’ve been a storyteller for longer than I can remember. My first recollection involves a few relatives, the dark of night, and the promise of a camp-out. My cousins gathered around, bored and looking for something to do. The night’s choir of crickets and critters cleared its throat as the four of us crept inside the old army tent set-up in the back yard. We nestled deep into our sleeping bags, and I began to tell a story. The musty canvas flapped from an occasional breeze punctuating each beat of the tale and I smiled into the flashlight’s gleam as my characters trudged through thick fields, dank forests, and web-covered cabins. By the time our mothers came to tuck us in, I’d sufficiently frightened them all. If memory serves, we slept on the family room floor that night.

It didn’t take long for word to spread of the stories told by moonlight. When Christmas rolled around, my cousins, nearly a dozen this time, sat around the cookie platter and begged for another story. That night I told a holiday tale which held them in place till the platter ran dry and my Aunts began calling. I honestly don’t know who had more fun, me or my cousins. 

On second thought, me for sure. 

As I grew, so did my tales. Anyone within earshot was fair game; my younger brother, the children I babysat for, the cat if he sat long enough. I toyed with writing for a little while, but high school English nipped any hope of publication in the bud. My grammar skills lacked, the details fell flat, and the plot-lines grew unfocused. I simply couldn’t do it. In college I declared a Psychology major and eventually graduated with a secondary education degree minoring in Psychology, Sociology, and Social Studies, hardly an MSA. 

I remember my first day as a substitute teacher. Twenty-four sets of eyes stared at me with various levels of disinterest (trust me; disinterest has many levels in high school and teachers see them all). My hands began to sweat and I shifted from side to side as my gaze slipped over each face. With a deep breath, I introduced myself. Then I told a story. 

Over the years, I’d collected a number of most-embarrassing moments—other people’s, of course—and I shared them all that day. By seventh hour kids crowded into my room saying, “hey, isn’t she the sub who tells stories?” 

Yesss! Substitute success. Story success.
But, write? Oh no.

Nearly twenty years would pass before writing would take center stage. Four children, seven dogs, and three careers needed to pass first. Then one night after the children scattered to their rooms, I faced my husband across the kitchen table and asked, “now what?”

Out of fear for our budget or what may happen to his power tools, my husband arched his eyebrows and said, “you know those stories you always tell?”

“Yeah?”

“Write ‘em.”

“Huh?”

“Write. Them. Down.”

“Me?” Suddenly I was a woman of few words.

“Yes, you. Give it a try. Couldn’t hurt.” 

That’s what he thought.

Three weeks later, my first novel, DRIVEN, was birthed. Multiple rewrites, overhauls, and edits landed that manuscript on the desk of an amazing editor willing to work with my grammatical weaknesses. In the span of three months, from first word to signed contract, my world as I knew it changed. 

Please don’t mistake me. I say none of this with arrogance or pride, but with humble astonishment that God would take someone like me and offer them a gift like this. For that is what this is…all of it. A gift. The gift of storytelling to a child. The gift of life experience to an adolescent. The gift of authorship to a grateful soul. So if you ask me why I write, I’ll tell you this, “it’s what I was made to do.”

Now it’s your turn…Do you write? If so, what made you start? If not, what holds your pen back?

Tell Me. Tell Me.
Twitter: shellie_c
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001729933656

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Release Announcement - Bad Spelling

On October 14th, MuseItUp Publishing released Marva Dasef's first book of the Witches of Galdorheim trilogy.

BONUS Story "Spellslinger" if you buy direct from MuseItUp.

BAD SPELLING
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

MuseItUp Buy Link: http://tinyurl.com/DasefBadSpelling
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005URFJ0Y
Marva's Website: http://marvadasef.com/
Marva's Blog: http://mgddasef.blogspot.com/

Description:

If you’re a witch living on a remote arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home.

Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo.  A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman.

The young witch, accompanied by her half-vampire brother, must travel to the Hall of the Mountain King and the farthest reaches of Siberia to regain her magic, dodging attacks by the shaman along the way.



Excerpt

Kat ran to where her brother and the three trolls faced each other. The trolls stood shoulder to shoulder, their big, splayed feet firmly planted in front of the footbridge. They bared their chunky yellow teeth and growled at Rune. Although hardly reaching Rune’s shoulder, they each outweighed him. Clearly, the trolls did not intend to let him cross. Looking up and down the streamlet, Kat wondered at their careful guarding of the bridge. Kind of silly, she thought, since anyone could easily step across the rivulet without even getting their feet wet. She wondered if these were children, given their short stature. However, their long knives looked very grown up.

Enunciating each word, Rune held his hands out to show they were empty. Kat had no idea what her brother was saying, since Rune was speaking Old Runish. Except for a few spell words, Kat didn’t understand the ancient tongue.

Evidently, neither did the trolls. Rune spoke again, louder this time, and took one slow step forward. At this move, the troll on the left lunged at them, jabbing at Rune with his knife. Rune sidestepped the rush and the troll, taken off balance, stumbled and fell flat on his face. Kat stepped over the troll and grasped his arm, but only caught hold of his sleeve. He screamed and pushed her away. The other two trolls ran at her with their knives raised, yelling as they advanced.

Rune stuck out his foot and tripped the middle troll. The last troll standing went after Rune. The young warlock threw up his hands, arms crossed to fend off the attack. A bright red light arced from his hands to hit the charging troll in the face. The troll dropped his knife and fell to the ground, screaming and rolling around with his hands pressed over his eyes. Rune snatched up the knife and held it to the middle troll’s neck. Kat sat on the one she grabbed, pulling the knife from his flailing hand. The recipient of Rune’s flash attack kept his hands over his eyes.

Rune spoke again in Old Runish, shouting to make himself heard. It didn’t do any good; the trolls all continued screaming and squealing at the top of their lungs.

Kat jumped up from the troll’s back and grabbed Rune’s hand, pulling the knife away from the troll’s neck. “Rune,” she yelled, “tell them we won’t hurt them!”

The thrashing troll froze, then turned his cumbersome head toward her.

“You can speak our language!” He slapped the troll nearest to him, who abruptly stopped screaming. The one whose neck Rune was holding the knife to spread his fingers to peek at Rune and Kat.

Rune released the troll and stood up, looking a little sheepish. “I just assumed–”

Friday, November 4, 2011

Advice for Unpublished Authors by Pembroke Sinclair

One of the questions I’m frequently asked as a published author is: What advice would you give unpublished authors who want to get published? Here are some of the things I would tell them.

1. Keep writing. It’s what you do; it’s what you enjoy. The more work you get out there, the bigger your fan base is going to get. If people enjoy what you write, they’ll want to see everything you create, so give them plenty to read.

2. Develop thick skin. You will get rejected. It’s not a matter of if, it’s when. Everybody gets rejected, even famous authors got rejected. But you can’t take it personally. Writing is a business, and a publisher has to make money off your creation. If they don’t think they can, they won’t take it on. The best thing to do is learn from the rejection and become even better at your craft.

3. Be persistent. Just because one publisher doesn’t like your story, that doesn’t mean another won’t. Keep putting it out there and keep making it better until you find the publisher who shares your vision for the story. With the advent of electronic publishing and independent presses, someone out there is bound to love your story as much as you do.

4. Be patient. The publishing world moves slightly faster than erosion. Editors are overwhelmed with submissions and getting contracted stories published. From experience, it takes about a year from the day you sign the contract until you see your book published. The process can be slightly faster if you are doing an electronic book, but it still takes months. While you’re waiting, work on your next project.

5. Network. Find people and friends who share your passion and talk to them. They will become a great source of inspiration and a shoulder to lean on when you need to vent. It will also put you in touch with readers and fans. The more you get out there, the more exposure you will get, and the more people will buy your work.

6. Find a publisher you enjoy working with. This is extremely important. You need to find someone who enjoys your work and wants to see it succeed, not someone who’s looking for a quick buck. Contact some authors the publisher has published and ask them how they feel. After that, go with your gut. No relationship is going to be perfect, but it should be professional. There should be mutual respect on both ends.

As I continue down the road of being published, I learn more and more. I don’t claim to be an expert when it comes to giving advice, but I have some experience. The most important think to remember is have fun. If writing isn’t fun, why do it?


Pembroke Sinclair has had several stories published in various places. She writes an eclectic mix of stories ranging from western to science fiction to fantasy. Her stories have been published in various places, including Static Movement, chuckhawks.com, The Cynic Online Magazine, Sonar 4 Publications, Golden Visions Magazine, and Residential Aliens. Her novels, Coming from Nowhere and Life After the Undead, are now available at eTreasures Publishing and Amazon.com. Her story, Sohei, was named one of the Best Stories of 2008 by The Cynic Online Magazine. If you would like to contact Pembroke, she can be reached at pembrokesinclair at hotmail dot com or pembrokesinclair.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Too Much or Not Enough in YA-Ville?



How much is too much
for a young adult novel?

In writing there seems to always be a fine line. Too much detail or not enough, what you can
“play with” or add too and what you can’t change within the historical fiction realm. The struggles I have found most in writing is
really deciding what is too much for a young adult read? Television has it’s own ratings and it’s sometimes
really quite shocking what the stations allow to pass through on the young
adult rating. From taboo topics to horribly
foul language, join us as we explore the ultimate question..How much is too
much in young adult “book-ville”.
Let’s first take a glance at the possibilities the door of question opens. With television and movie ratings there is a standard
of what is deemed appropriate and what is not.
Do these same concepts and beliefs reflect what is appropriate in the
literature land? I have to say I think
not. For some reason “brief” nudity and
gore seem to be okay visually via young adult standards when you flick on that
infamous television set, but oh my!- if you dabble in the darker side of
things- (example Harry Potter) for the young adult mind. What an uproar some people created over that
fantasy school and shhh, can we say “wizards”-
Why is that? Wasn’t Jim Hensens
“The Dark Crystal” dark and fantasy driven as well and yet no stink raised
there.
The trouble I really find myself in is for example, my second
book in the Banyan series I’m currently writing. It is a historical fiction novella in which a
young girl wishes upon a Banyan tree stick to be anywhere but where she is in
her life and ends up waking up in the midst of a historic event with each new
day. Current setting, being the
concentration camp, Dachau. The horror
and the extreme torture that took place there is enough to make a strong heart
sob. How do you engage the young mind
and wrap it fully around the events that took place there all while keeping it
age appropriate? Is it possible? I really don’t want to soften the events that
took place there as that truly would be nothing short of an insult to the
people who endured the trials and tribulations, or even perished at
Dachau.
I’m trying to
deepen my own writings as I dive into the darkness at Dachau and create a healthy
awareness to the political and humanity side of this piece of history that
should never be forgotten. History has
so much to do with our future and I truly believe that is we listen to it we
can get through this journey called life.
Another hot
topic on my mind has been the fact that I am a multi genre author. I write everything from children’s books, to
fantasy, to historical fiction, to even adult reads. I do however write anything deemed
inappropriate for younger minds under a pen name- as to not offend anyone,
respectfully. When I tell people this
they seem too often go bug eyed! Is this
really any different than an actor or actress starring in a children’s film,
then doing a love scene in their next year’s big hit? I think opening the mind to be able to
explore all aspects of writing is the key.
It becomes way too easy to become redundant in your works and shifting
genres is a nice key to keep things fresh and your creative juices flowing.
Writing really
brings up more questions than you can imagine and that is what I love about
it. Pushing the envelope, opening doors
in people’s minds, reminding people of the past and envisioning our future. Isn’t that what makes up a fabulous book
after all anyway?
Thanks for reading, and a huge thank you to Rebecca Russell
for having me on Teen Word Factory! You
can catch up on my blog at http://sameenassphere.wordpress.com/
Banyan is available via Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Banyan-ebook/dp/B005JUZO0M
& Museitup Publishing’s online bookstore http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=208&category_id=10&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1&vmcchk=1&Itemid=1

Cheers to a good read,
Sameena Bachmeier



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Writing Tip: New Formats Stretch the Imagination

by Karina Fabian

I was not interested in writing your usual zombie novel, so when I was asked to write Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, I gave myself permission to go a little nuts and try out some new things.  I knew it was going to center around a reality TV show, so I thought I'd add in all the things networks are doing nowadays to promote their shows:  weblogs (where the characters diss each other and promote themselves), forums (complete with trolls) and even a documentary that explained the whole zombie phenomenon.

I don't think it would work for most books, but I had a lot of fun with this.  It let me go behind the scenes without worrying about head-hopping.  It spared me a lot of having to describe landscapes and backgrounds and such--I could cut right to the jokes.  The documentary let me add in a couple of flash stories that are much better for having the context of the entire novel.  Many reviewers enjoyed the fresh style, which did keep the novel moving.

It also helped me learn to work with a huge cast of characters, something I'd not done before.  That proved invaluable when I wrote my next book, a serious science fiction novel involving a crew that finds an alien device that shows them the weakness of their souls. 

Now, however, I'm working on Neeta Lyffe II, and I'm finding that without the reality TV show angle (this one is at a convention), I'm not as free as I was in Neeta I.  I can't make a forum fit.  The weblogs are more news-oriented.  There is a new documentary, however.  I really like being able to tell a separate but related story without flashback or characters just talking about it.

Experimenting with new formats is a great way to free up your imagination.


Join Me on the Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator 
Virtual Book Tour


By the 2040s, the shambling dead have become and international problem. While governments and special interest groups vie for the most environmentally-friendly way to rid the world of zombies, a new breed of exterminator has risen: The Zombie Exterminator. When zombie exterminator Neeta Lyffe gets sued because a zombie she set afire stumbles onto a lawyer's back porch, she needs money, fast. So she agrees to train apprentice exterminators in a reality TV show that makes Survivor look like a game of tag. But that's nothing compared to having to deal with crazy directors, bickering contestants and paparazzi. Can she keep her ratings up, her bills paid and her apprentices alive and still keep her sanity?



Excerpt:
The workout room had a weights set and an elliptical in one corner, but Neeta ignored them. She needed more vigorous exercise than that if she wanted to burn off her emotional funk.

None of the plebes had done the routine she'd just set for herself. It didn't really reflect the reality of zombie movements, either. Although the crew had designed the targets to look much like actual undead, they moved too quickly, changed direction too suddenly, lunged and retreated in ways zombies couldn't imitate. They zigged and zaggged, dropped from the ceiling to zoom back up, flung themselves from the ground to trip the unwary. For once, this wasn't about training.

Neeta steeled herself, found an opening and dove in with a roar. She swung high, tagging the first zombie with the edge of her blade just as it got within her reach.

This was about reflexes,

She jumped over the arm that sprung up in front of her, doing the splits as she brought down her chainsaw to slice the hand off at the wrist.

…about burning aggression,

She spun a full circle, moving the saw in a sine wave. She took one target out at the knees, sliced another sideways across the chest, beheaded a third.

…about moving beyond thought and planning and negotiations with writers and directors and people who cared more for ratings than lives,

She lunged, spun, kicked and swung, her battle cries a perfect accompaniment to the pounding music.

A buzzer sounded, and the lights brightened and steadied. The targets stopped their frenetic motions and presented themselves for her to examine. She dropped the saw where she stood and braced her hands against her knees to catch her breath. Her arms felt like lead. A good feeling. She moved among the grimacing targets, noting the strikes that would have severed limbs, the ones that would have beheaded... When she came to the long-haired one with the pot belly, she gave a feral grin.

She's landed the blade in perfect position to slice Dave's manic smile right off his face.

Want more fun? Check out the Zombie Death Extreme show website!


Check out the Tour!



17-Oct
info
17-Oct
Interview for Frightliner & Neeta Lyffe
18-Oct
http://rryalsrussell.com/blog/
Try a New Format
18-Oct
Why I wrote a Zombie Book when I Don’t Like Zombies
19-Oct
Websites and Worldbuilding
20-Oct
how to put on zombie make-up
21-Oct
review
22-Oct
Making Monsters
26-Oct
interview
26-Oct
Best job in the world
29-Oct
podcast
30-Oct
review, guest post
31-Oct
What my Writing has done to My Kids

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lost in Lexicon - Gold Winner

The Mom's Choice Awards® has named Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers by Pendred Noyce among the best in family-friendly media, products and services.

The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) is an awards program that recognizes authors, inventors, companies, parents and others for their efforts in creating quality family-friendly media, products and services.
Parents, educators, librarians and retailers rely on MCA evaluations when selecting quality materials for children and families. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others.

To be considered for an award, each entrant submits five identical samples of a product. Entries are matched to judges in the MCA database. Judges perform a thorough analysis and submit a detailed assessment. Results are compiled and submitted to the MCA Executive Committee for final approval. The end result is a list of the best in family-friendly media, products and services that parents and educators can feel confident in using.

Lost in Lexicon is a literary fantasy for kids age 9-12. It tells the tale of two cousins on a journey through a magical land full of mixed up words and numbers, with a quest to return the lost children of Lexicon to their homes. It is the first in a four-part adventure series. Lost in Lexicon has won numerous awards, to include a Parents’ Choice Recommended award, a ForeWord Book of the Year Awards Honorable Mention, and an IBPA Ben Franklin for Interior Design.

For more information on Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers, please visit http://www.lostinlexicon.com/.

NOTE: Pendred Noyce will be appearing at the Rain Taxi Twin Cities Book Festival in Minneapolis on the morning of October 15, and at the Barnes & Noble Educator Day in Roseville later that day. She will also tour through Boulder, CO in mid-November.

Author Biography

Pendred Noyce is a doctor, education reformer, and writer. Penny has practiced internal medicine, supervised medical residents, and become a leader in Massachusetts mathematics and science education reform. She serves on a number of nonprofit boards, including that of the Noyce Foundation, and she chairs the boards of Maine’s Libra Foundation and the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy. Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers is Penny's first full novel and is the first in a four-part adventure series.

About the Book

When thirteen year-old cousins Ivan and Daphne complain of boredom, their Aunt Adelaide sends them on a treasure hunt in a land where words and numbers run wild. Before they know it, they’ve taken on a pet thesaurus and the challenge of finding the Land of Lexicon’s lost children.

The cousins travel from village to village, solving challenges, befriending an unlikely lot of characters and gathering clues. When a careless mathematician transports them to the Land of Night, their danger deepens. They have to call on all their courage and creativity to battle kidnapping, imprisonment and blind deceit before they can solve the mystery of the lights in the sky and return the lost children of Lexicon to their homes.

You can download the first three chapters here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Big Girls CAN Cry

Even though I have an English degree and have worked in publishing forever, I love to attend writing classes so I can learn what's new. It also reminds me of stuff I've forgotten. Just a while ago, I was in a writing workshop where the leader told us that the heroines in our stories should never cry.

That kinda caught me off guard. How realistic is a character who doesn't show emotion?

But the workshop leader was serious. She told us that our heroines could grimace; but they couldn't flinch. Our heroines could duck; but they couldn't run. Our heroines could think about sorrow; but they could never ever cry.

Now, I'm a fantasy writer. My heroines are strong chicks, but once in a while, the stress and loss is enough to make one of them cry. I'm usually weeping on the keyboard right along with them, by the way. Does this make the heroine weak? (or me?) It doesn't happen often, mind you, but it happens when necessary.

Personally, I think it makes her more realistic. I think it makes her more human. I think it makes her more likeable. If the character Chariss in my Choices series never broke down and cried, I think my audience would start to doubt her credibility and her heart. That means I'm at least one writer who's not afraid to let the heroine cry.

From Sandy Lender
"Some days, you just want the dragon to win."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Book Birthday, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island!


Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island
by C.K. Volnek


Hello! It’s so nice to be here and meet so many new friends. And on a very special day, too! It’s my BOOK BIRTHDAY! (Read below for prize details!)

My name is C.K. Volnek and I live in small-town USA in the upper plains state of Nebraska, where I share my home and time with my husband and four Papillon fur-kids. Our three children have flown the nest for college or career. I’m a graphic artist and meeting planner by day, but now keep myself busy writing and blogging by night.

I am proud to announce my debut tween e-novel, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island, is now available. It’s a tween ghost story with a twist of Native American folklore and based upon the mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island.

And because it’s my Book Birthday, I’m offering one lucky commenter a FREE e-copy of Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island. I Love Free stuff! Just visit my Birthday Blog at ckvolnek.com/blog.html and leave me a note and one lucky commenter will win a FREE e-copy.

Here is the book description:

Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island
In 1587, 117 colonists disappeared from Roanoke Island…disappeared without a trace, leaving behind not only unanswered questions, but a terrifying evil.

Now it’s up to twelve year-old Jack Dahlgren to unravel the age-old mystery and save his family from the hateful beast that haunts the island.

With the help of newfound friend, Manny, a Native American shaman, and an elusive Giant Mastiff, Jack must piece together the clues of the Lost Colony to discover what really happened. Shrouded in ancient Native American folklore, it's up to Jack to uncover what the evil is and why it haunts his island. But can he destroy it...before it destroys him?

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

The Mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island

To be honest, I don’t remember studying the Lost Colony in school, so it was with great interest when I read an article about it a couple of years ago. My muse instantly became intrigued. How could a whole colony of people just disappear? No one knows what happened and it has remained a mystery ever since.

The story actually begins a couple of years before the Lost Colony came to the island 1587. In 1584, the explorers, Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe were believed to be the first white people to set their sights on North Carolina. Having been sent to the area to scout and investigate the land by Sir Walter Raleigh, they returned with glowing reports and two Native Americans, Manteo and Wanchese. The Queen and all of Britain were enthralled with the glowing news of this New World’s wonders.

Queen Elizabeth granted Raleigh a patent to this new land and named it Virginia. The next year, 1585, Raleigh sent a party of 100 soldiers, craftsmen and scholars to Roanoke Island.

This first colony of men was doomed from the beginning. They arrived too late in the season to plant and their supplies dwindled rapidly. Then, upon the supposed theft of a silver cup, Sir Richard Grenville and Ralph Lane led a march on the native village of Aquascogoc and burned it to the ground in retaliation, thus alienating themselves from the natives. Quite the dastardly deed, in my opinion. In 1586, the men had had enough and returned to England with Sir Francis Drake, abandoning their settlement.

Despite this last misadventure, Sir Walter Raleigh was not deterred. He recruited over 121 men, women and children to form a more permanent settlement and sent this new colony to Roanoke Island in 1587. John White was appointed Governor and among the colonists were his own pregnant daughter, Eleanor Dare, and her husband Annanias Dare. She gave birth to a daughter, Virginia, on August 18, 1587, the first English child to be born on American soil.

Unfortunately the colonists did not arrive to Roanoke Island until July and by the end of August supplies were already dwindling. The ships were returned to England, along with an anxious John White, to restock and return with supplies. Upon their arrival in Britain, White and his ship found themselves stuck in England, the invasion of the Spanish Armada imminent.

Finally, three years later, White was able to return to Roanoke Island. Arriving on August 18, his granddaughter’s third birthday, he found the fort deserted and no trace of the colonists. The only clue found was a single word “CROATOAN” carved into a post and the letters “CRO” carved into a nearby tree.

White knew the Croatoan natives were a friendly people, but despite a search of the area, no further clues were found. There were no bodies or signs of war with the natives. The colonists of Roanoke Island had simply vanished.

Today, the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island still remains a mystery. So, my muse decided to come up with her own idea what happened. I threw in a ghost and a twist of Native American folklore to complete the story. I hope you’ll check out Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island.

Thanks to all our readers for stopping by. I would love to hear from you. I always enjoy meeting and greeting my friends. Remember to stop by my blog (www.ckvolnek.com/blog.html) and leave me a message for your change to win a FREE e-copy of Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island.

You can contact me at ckvolnek (at) yahoo (dot) com.
You can join me on my web page: www.ckvolnek.com, or visit me at my blog: www.ckvolnek.com/blog.html.
You can also find me on Facebook (C.K. Volnek) or Twitter (CKVolnek), Good Reads and Jacket Flap.
My book trailer is on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbJEF9TjZzo
My book is available at:

MIU Bookstore: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=105&category_id=10&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1

and

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Dog-Roanoke-Island-ebook/dp/B005O0K8ZI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316656535&sr=8-1

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Will Jeremiah Keep the Prophecy Safe?

Last week the second book of the YA Seraphym Wars Series came out as an eBook. It is completely stand-alone and can be read at any point of the series. Here's a bit of what it's about and where you can find it:


Prophecy Blurb
For centuries the residents of Solsyl lived in peace and harmony with the planet. Then the dragon-demons arrived, causing the Great Shuddering. Majikals from everywhere scurried to find shelter from the evil while humans hid. Laud regretted his rash decision of exiling the demons on Solsyl and asked one of his advisors, a member of The Conscientia, to protect his people. Jeremiah Holyfield agreed to leave the peaceful world of Revrum Natura for a life of constant strife and fear on the newly renamed planet of Dracwald. But Narciss, ruler of Tartarus and King of the demons, desperately wants what Jeremiah has sworn to protect—a Prophecy of Narciss’s future doom. And Narciss refuses to take no for an answer. But Jeremiah discovers allies along his path and even true love, which he never dreamed possible.
But forever is a long time to protect something without ever letting down one’s guard.


All of my books so far can be bought at these locations:
Books Available:

In case you've forgotten about the other two books. Here is a little reminder blurb.

Odessa Blurb--Book 1 of YA Seraphym Wars Series

17-year-old Myrna is drawn into the middle of an epic battle between Seraphym and Demons. An average High School student from Florida, struggling with inner demons resulting from an attack when she was 15, she wakes one morning on the Steampunk planet of Dracwald, home of the demon-dragons responsible for her brother’s recent murder as well as many other atrocities in the news. She meets sweet and sensitive Michael, who explains that according to prophecy, Myrna must gather the remaining six Vigorios (teen warriors with special talents) then train with the Majikals on an enchanted island. He accompanies her on the quest, but harbors a secret past that ironically would destroy all the faith she has placed in him. A handsomely roguish Scientist with suspect motives haunts her dreams and makes sudden appearances in unlikely places, while a sensual dragon warrior defends her against her will.
Will love and lust, jealousy, greed, deceit and distrust break the delicate tie that binds these teen warriors called The Vigorios? Can a troupe of teens help the Seraphym finally defeat the massive empire of evil dominated for eons by the demon-dragons of Dracwald? 



Zarena Blurb--Book 1 of the MG Stardust Warriors Series. The next book in this series, Jeremiah, comes out in November.

14-year old Zarena spends time with a Holy Order of Clerics on their hidden world of Revrum Natura, while she receives training in Martial Arts, Herbology, Astronomy, Weaponry and Mind Control. Destined to become the leader of the Vigorios, child warriors, who will assist the Seraphym in the war against the demon-dragons of Dracwald, Zarena grows up in a hurry. Lonely and homesick, she meets a Mermaid who encourages her to talk about her training. Is this new friend too good to be true? Zarena learns a valuable lesson about trust and betrayal—a lesson that will serve her well as leader of the Vigorios.



Here's the full Release Schedule to keep in mind:
BOOK RELEASE INFO:
April 2011-Odessa, Seraphym Wars YA Series-available at Amazon
July 2011-Zarena, Stardust Warriors MG Series
September 2011-Prophecy, Seraphym Wars
November 2011-Jeremiah, Stardust Warriors
January 2012-Harpies, Seraphym Wars
February 2012-Laman, Stardust Warriors
April 2012-Mercy, Stardust Warriors
June 2012-Magaelbash, Stardust Warriors

AND don't forget you can find out more information at these websites:
Tween Word Quest   MG Interactive Website with TONS of info about my MG stuff




Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Finding the Time to Write

By YA Fantasy Author Andrea Buginsky


Now that school is back in session, some of you, students in particular, may be searching for time to write what you want to write. Your teachers will undoubtedly have you writing many papers for your classes, but on subjects and topics that they choose for you. So with a heavy class load, homework, extracurricular activities, and chores, not to mention spending time with your friends and family, where on Earth are you ever going to find the time to write what you want to?

This is a question writers of all ages and genres have been asking themselves for years. In the past two decades, our lives have gotten really hectic. There’s work, family life, taking care of the kids and the house, all of the organizations parents join at their kids’ schools, and so much more. It seems that we as a society are running around like a bunch of chickens with our heads cut off. Now that you teens are back in school and loaded up with schoolwork and after-school activities, you see what your parents go through.

But there is a light at the other end of the tunnel. By taking a few extra steps every day, you can carve some free time for your personal writing to make it onto your daily schedule.

1. Create a To-Do List

a. Write down everything you have to do on a given day: go to school, go to your after-school activities, do homework, do chores, hang out with friends and family

b. Write down the times each of these activities take place, including the approximate amount of time each activity will take to complete.

c. Now look at any empty spaces in your schedule, and add the word “write” to them.

2. Use Your Writing Time Wisely

a. Now that you’ve found some free time in your schedule for your writing, use it wisely by setting up everything you’ll need in advance, including making sure your computer is ready to go, your printer has plenty of ink and paper, and you have anything else you’ll need for your writing session ready to go.

b. Know what you plan to write during each session. You can do this by first glancing at what you wrote at your previous session, then continuing; by making notes at the end of each session about what you want to write about next; or by making an outline of your project you can follow during each session.

3. Prepare for the Next Writing Session

a. Before you end your writing session each day, prepare for the next day by writing down some notes on what comes next in your project, cleaning up your work area so it’s ready to go the next day, and organizing all of your writing materials back where they belong.

b. At the end of each session, write yourself some tips and ideas you thought might have helped you during your writing session for the next one.

Although it still might not be your ideal writing situation, by following these ideas, you’ll be more organized, better prepared, and ready to write when your available writing time does pop up. Don’t be too put off if you find you only have a little time each day, or even each week, to fit your writing sessions into your schedule. Be ready for them so that you can make the best of each one. Happy writing!

Andrea Buginsky is the author of "The Chosen," available from Solstice Publishing.