Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Writing During the Holidays

By Author Andrea Buginsky

It's the holiday season, and along with the upcoming celebrations and parties, you're probably also looking forward to winter break. A glorious two weeks (or more) with no school, homework, or papers to have to worry about. So what are you going to do with your holiday time off? Write, of course!

The holiday season provides numerous of possibilities to write about: Family vacations, memories of the past year, gifts you want to give and receive...the ideas are endless. To keep track of all of your holiday writing opportunities, jot down the ideas as they come to you in a journal, and keep a holiday diary of all of your activities and memories.

Just about everywhere you go and everything you do can supply you with a long list of writing projects. So get your computer geared up, grab some pen and paper, and start writing!

Happy holidays!

Andrea Buginsky is a freelance writer and author. “The Chosen” was her first book, and was followed by “My Open Heart,” an autobiography about growing up with heart disease. “Nature’s Unbalance” is the second story in THE CHOSEN series. Andrea plans to write more in the series. She’s already done with the first draft of book 3 and has a concept for book 4. You can find Andrea on her website, Andi’s Realm. Her books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Remember to sign up for Andrea's newsletter to stay up-to-date on all of her exciting events.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Observing life as an author.

 Did you step up for the Nanowrimo challenge? Fifty thousand words in one month?

This year I let the glove lie. With edits for book six in the Chronicles of Caleath, edits for Museitup Publishing, and taking on the responsibility of going through submissions I left forcing myself to write in a rush till another quieter year.

Still... I have been tinkering with ideas. The Muse is never quiet for too long.

So, what inspires you to write?

Asked to take a workshop for a writers' group I have spent some time wondering how I could adapt my Fantasy writing workshops for writers who focus on poetry, short stories, and memoirs.

An over all look at writing leads me to think authors are in the most part voyeurs. We need to be observers, not always involved, but able to take some information from any situation. Everyday life is where we gather material for later use.

Sitting around a table drinking coffee and chatting with a few new faces my writer's instinct kicked in.

There was the elderly gentleman with the glasses with one arm missing, facing life through a warped perspective as though nothing was amiss.

The woman who arrived with paint still in her hair. A feeble streak of grey in a head of dark brown. Of course my imagination takes flight.

There was the young woman, attractive and open, writing a journal. Eager to capture her own material?
The poets, pouring forth their emotions. What need does poetry meet? The enthusiasm for creating verse showed in the writers' stance, gestures, expression and breathless hesitation as they waited for reaction.

Another short story writer, sharing a moment of her past. A fleeting glimpse into 'the good old days'?
I didn't take notes then, but I came away with memories to call on when writing a crowd scene. The intensity of gazes, the habitual tics, the quietly spoken, the loud opinionated, those who watched, those who participated.

North wall...where the waves are bigger than the  dogs.
Everyday life offers us so many moments. Walking the dogs, meeting strangers, enjoying the sunshine, the breeze, getting surprised by a wave, finding the dogs bowled off their feet and dumped among the rocks. All moments of drama we can survive and archive for the right moment in our writing.

Writing what you know... writing from experience... makes us keen observers of all that takes place around us. What a wonderful way to go through life. :)

Rosalie Skinner author of The Chronicles of Caleath. 
 Science Fiction /Fantasy.
 Eight ebooks in the series.
'Hold my hand...and I will take you into my dreams."

Monday, November 19, 2012

60 Amazing Links for Writers

I found this amazing list at Galleycat, one of my favorite writing sites and just had to pass it along. Even if you’re NOT do Nanowrimo, the links here are terrifically useful and fun.

30 National Novel Writing Month Tips from 2012

Rebecca Ryals Russell

Monday, November 12, 2012

Writing Craft and NaNoWriMo

I was contemplating my NaNoWriMo efforts of the past 3 years and what I have planned this year and it struck me that although I’ve ‘writing’ since childhood, have had things ‘published’ over the years and now make this a full-time endeavor, I still know so little about the craft of writing.

That’s really what writing is all about—learning the craft. And that is what takes so long—because you must practice and read other examples of good writing from which to role model.

I’ve been doing a lot of both lately. I’ve read several really awesome YA books, like The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch (amazing writing)  and, of course, any of Cassandra Clare’s books. I’m currently rereading Divergent by Veronica Roth and Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke.

All of this reading slapped me in the face with how these authors handled many of the obvious mistakes my own work contains and why I haven’t been pleased with any of it. But recognizing this fact and fixing it are two different issues.

When I wrote Odessa and several of the others in my two early series, I just sat down and let the story pour out of me then said, “Done.” But as I reread these books I’m disappointed in myself for the lackluster writing and poor flow. Does that mean I could write it any better now? Maybe somewhat better, but not as well as I’d like, yet.

So I went shopping on Amazon and found several books on craft that have made a WORLD of difference in my thought process and organizing the ideas I had but couldn’t get together. These books were: Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland and Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks.
What does all of this have to do with NaNo? I spent last month plotting and planning, revising characters and plotline for the manuscript I’ve struggled with over for the past 3 NaNos. And I must say, I’m excited to get started writing. I like this plot and character much better and I think I may have nailed it. We’ll see by the end of the month.

I also decided to start over with a brand new manuscript, rather than trying to piece the old with the new like a worn-out quilt.

Here’s the premise for Sunshine Colony:2525

In the year 2525 the world has collapsed and rebuilt itself into linked, self-governed villages called Colonies. 13-year-old Rayna Darwin was born into Seaside Village, Sunshine Colony the usual way--for those times. But her circumstances were far from usual--a red-haired twin was the most taboo birth possible. Her twin sold to Slavers and birth mother exiled, Rayna was rescued and given away to be raised in the Underground Black Market by loving Barren parents who dyed her hair brown and hid her true identity. She played with other kids when their parents came to shop, fell in love with one of them and never knew danger. That is, until a woman so jealous of Rayna's mother's good fortune and loving life she could no longer control herself turned Rayna over to the Peacers. 

Taken away to live with the other 12-20 year old girls in the government-run population control center called the Gestortium, Rayna's life takes a turn for the dangerous when she is recognized by a sadistic previous playmate who is so jealous of Rayna's loving home and life she formulates a plan to kill her. After all, she's done it before...   
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Since writing this posting I have begun writing and am about 7 chapters into the new story. I read the opening chapter to my college-aged son and his highschool girlfriend—both picky readers…They were impressed and wanted to know the rest of the story. SUCCESS! Now to keep up that level of tension.

Rebecca Ryals Russell, a fourth-generation Floridian, was born in Gainesville, grew up in Ft Lauderdale then lived in Orlando and Jacksonville with her Irish husband and four children. Due to the sudden death of Rebecca's mother, they moved to Wellborn, near Lake City, to care for her father, moving into his Victorian home built in 1909. After teaching Middle Graders for fourteen years she retired and began writing the story idea which had been brewing for thirty years.  Within six months she wrote the first three books of each series, YA Seraphym Wars and MG Stardust Warriors. The world she created has generated numerous other story ideas including two current works in progress, SageBorn Chronicles based on various mythologies of the world and aimed at the lower Middle Grade reader and Saving Innocence, another MG series set on Dracwald and involving dragons and Majikals. She is finishing a YA Dystopian Romance which has been a NaNoWriMo project for three years. She loves reading YA Fantasy, Horror and Sci Fi as well as watching movies.  Read more about Rebecca and her WIPs as well as how to buy books in her various series at http://rryalsrussell.com  You may email her at vigorios7@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

School Visits

By Author Andrea Buginsky

One way to introduce yourself and your book to new readers is to do a school visit. School visits consist of you visiting a class or an entire school of children at the appropriate age level for your books, whether they be in elementary, middle, or high school. If you're planning a school visit, you'll want to make sure you are prepared.

First, be sure you know the exact date, time, and location of your visit. Show up early enough so you're all set up and ready to go when the assembly starts. Wear comfortable, but professional-looking clothes.

Decide on some activities you can do that relate to your book and the school or class curriculum. You can read a portion of your book, of course, but make sure you have a fun activity set up, too. Then, you can hold a Q&A session with the students. Check with the teacher or principal for any other activities they may want you to cover.

Practice your session before your visit to make sure you have enough time to cover everything. You don't want to suddenly have to change your curriculum in the middle or towards the end of your visit because you went over your allotted time.

Bring some copies of your book(s) with you for the students to purchase. Make sure to tell the teacher in advance, and get permission to do this if necessary. You can hold an autograph session at the end of your visit for students who already have or are purchasing the book at the time of your visit. You may also give away as many copies as you wish during the visit. It's up to you.

If you can't bring books for the students, have bookmarks printed for the occasion to give away.

Follow up your visit with a thank-you note to the teacher or principal, as well as one to the students.

Relax, enjoy, and listen to what the students have to say. Remember, they are your audience and your readers, so pay attention. Have fun!

Andrea Buginsky is a freelance writer and author. “The Chosen” was her first book, and was followed by “My Open Heart,” an autobiography about growing up with heart disease. “Nature’s Unbalance” is the second story in THE CHOSEN series. Andrea plans to write more in the series. She’s already done with the first draft of book 3 and has a concept for book 4. You can find Andrea on her website, Andi’s Realm. Her books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Remember to sign up for Andrea's newsletter to stay up-to-date on all of her exciting events.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

103 Synonyms for ANGER or ANGRY

Sometimes certain words keep popping up in your manuscript and you wish there were other forms of the word you could substitute. Or maybe you’re looking for a more specific term for the basic word you have in mind. Well, if the word you’re using is ANGER or ANGRY, here are 103 useful alternatives:

    1. Acrid: extremely harsh (or an unpleasant taste or smell)
    2. Acrimonious: harshly unpleasant
    3. Aggravated: angrily agitated
    4. Angered: made angry
    5. Annoyed: angry about being disturbed
     6. Antagonistic: angrily opposed
    7. Antipathetic: expressing aggression or aversion
    8. Apoplectic: violently angry, from the word apoplexy, meaning having a stroke
    9. Ballistic: explosively angry, from the word meaning projectile flight
    10. Bellicose: aggressively angry, from the synonym for warlike
    11. Belligerent: see bellicose
    12. Bent out of shape: as in stooped over while screaming
    13. Beside oneself: seeming out of character
    14. Bitter: resentful
    15. Blue in the face: see frustrated, from the idea of facial discoloration caused by extreme emotion
    16. Boiling: extremely angry, meaning being agitated like heated water
    17. Bristling: defensively angry, like an animal’s hair bristling as it responds to a threat
    18. Burning: extremely angry, from the body overheating due to intense feeling
    19. Caustic: cruelly angry, or sarcastic
    20. Chagrin: distress caused by humiliation or failure
    21. Cheesed off: see frustrated (also “bored” or “disgusted”)
    22. Choleric: easily angered
    23. Churlish: disrespectfully angry
    24. Cold: emotionally remote anger
    25. Contrary: uncooperatively angry
    26. Cool: angry but emotions are held in check
    27. Cross
    28. Disgruntlement: ill-humored or discontented
    29. Discontent
    30. Displeasure
    31. Embittered: made upset
    32. Enraged: violently angry
    33. Exasperated: see frustrated
    34. Fired up: see hot
    35. Fit to be tied: extremely angry, suggesting that the angry person should be restrained
    36. Flare up: so angry you might turn into fire
    37. Fly off the handle: refers to loose ax head flying off the handle when swung
    38. Foaming: so angry as to suggest insanity caused by hydrophobia (rabies), as in foaming at the mouth is symptomatic of the disease
    39. Frustrated: upset due to obstacles or challenges
    40. Fuming: extremely angry, from the association of a volcano or other heated natural phenomenon
    41. Fury: destructive rage; refers to mythic Furies (avenging Greek deities who torment criminals and inflict plagues)
    42. Furious: intensely angry
    43. Galled: fret or wear by friction; become sore from rubbing
    44. Go berserk: ancient Scandinavian warrior frenzied in battle and held to be invulnerable
    45. Going crook: losing one’s temper
    46. Hopping: jumping up and down to express anger
    47. Hopping mad: see hopping
    48. Horn-mad: extremely angry
    49. Hostile: actively intimidating, unfriendly, or resistant
    50. Hot: physical discomfort caused by anger
    51. Hot under the collar: see hot
    52. Icy: see cold
    53. Impassioned 
    54. In a lather: referring to ‘lathering at the mouth’ from Rabies
    55. In high dudgeon: state of indignation
    56. Incensed: see indignant
    57. Indignant: angry because of a real or perceived slight or unjust attack
    58. Inflamed: see hot
    59. Infuriated: see furious
    60. Incense: set on fire
    61. Irascibility: easily provoked anger
    62. Irate: see furious
    63. Ireful: see irate
    64. Irk: irritate
    65. Livid: intensely angry to the point of being unable to control oneself (livid, however, can also mean “bruised,” “pale,” or “colorful,” with the second sense associated with pain, shock, or fear)
    66. Mad: insane or crazy; also used to mean angry as in unable to think clearly due to madness
    67. Malcontent: displeased
    68. Outraged: angry about an offense
    69. Passionate: easily angered
    70. Peeve: resentful
    71. Perturbed: upset (or confused)
    72. Pissed off: aggravated
    73. Piqued: aroused through provocation
    74. Provoke: arouse to feeling or action
    75. Rabid: see foaming
    76. Raging: see furious
    77. Rancorous: malevolently angry
    78. Rankled: resentful
    79. Ranting: irrationally angry
    80. Raving: see ranting
    81. Riled: upset; quickened heartbeat
    82. Roiled: see riled
    83. Ruffled feathers: as in a bird’s raised feathers to intimidate
    84. Seeing red: so angry that one’s vision is blurred by excess blood flow in the eyes
    85. Seething: repressing violent anger
    86. Shirty: British for irritated
     87. Smoldering: see seething
    88. Sore: see indignant
    89. Soreheaded: see indignant
    90. Steamed: see hot
    91. Steaming: see hot
     92. Storming: anger suggestive of stormy weather
    93. Stormy: see storming
    94. Teed off: annoyed
    95. Tetchiness: (tetchy) another form of touchy or irritable
    96. Testiness: easily annoyed
    97. Ticked: angry; also “ticked off”
    98. Vexation: troubling
    99. Vitriolic: see caustic
    100. Worked up: upset
    101. Wrathful: see furious
    102. Wroth: see furious
    103. Wrought up: see “worked up”

    Keep an eye out for more lists of synonyms of basic words. Also keep a sharp eye out for the next Seraphym Wars book, Harpies, Book Two due out soon. Here's what it's all about.

    Transported to a planet he'd never heard of was the least of fifteen-year-old Griffen's problems. Learning to control his suddenly increasing strength and new ability to pull lightning from the sky takes some getting used to.  Angry preteen Seth joins the quest; meanwhile discovering his combusting ability as a fire-starter. Driven to find the last Vigorio, a young girl able to experience others' emotions, they journey together toward their destinies as warriors against Narciss, Ruler of Tartarus and his Legio of demon-dragons. But Belial, a power-hungry demon determined to win Narciss’s approval makes their trip miserable while Narciss’s Harpy henchmen take matters into their own hands.

    Don't forget to watch my website for giveaways and blog hops. Lots of prizes given away every month.

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    Paranormal Trouble finds its way to Omega, Tennessee

    Paranormal Trouble finds its way to Omega, Tennessee

    It all started when Athena Gray ducked through the woods to take a shortcut home…

    Well, for me, it started after I visited some prehistoric Indian burial mounds. It was a haunting experience, and the town of Henderson where I based my next novel, made a perfect small town setting.

    When it comes to all things ghostly, I am the biggest chicken. I've never seen any film involving chainsaws. I refused to allow my young children to watch any kind of ghost hunting on television. Haunted houses are not on the top of my bucket list. I believe in spirits, and yes, I've had my own paranormal experiences, but writing about them didn't become a journey until my vacation to the mounds where I wondered how many ancient souls wandered through the nearby forest. I wondered what it would be like if I could see those spirits, and what would I do if there was contact?

    Athena Gray lives vicariously through her sister because people in general avoid her. Whether it's strange things like dead butterflies fluttering to life, or the time she saved her dying grandpa just by willing him to live, Athena knows that she is different. The only person who doesn't seem to think so is Dan, the most popular boy on Omega High School's baseball team. But even Dan can't understand the reason she acts haunted, until a spirit roaming the local historic burial mounds takes an interest in people Athena cares about.

    Athena is a strong, independent character who understands she doesn't have to fit in to be content with herself. She also knows that she has a gift. High school doesn't come easy though, because dealing with teen drama and her own social anxiety issues are as difficult as accepting her grandfather's death. With no parents to turn to and few friends, Athena has to dig deep when a dark angel enters her life at the worst time. And he doesn't just have information about who she is, he has demands.


    A low rumble echoed around me, and the tall, dark trees went still. Not even a leaf stirred. My heart hummed, and a tingle of apprehension made my palms damp. A snarl came from the shadow of a tangled thorn bush, and soft, padding footsteps shuffled in the late afternoon gloom. My breathing went ragged with fear. Maybe it was a raccoon or an angry squirrel.


    Whipping around, I stared hard into the murk. A voice. It sounded gentle, but at the same time it sent chills down my arms. I glanced up through the hooded canopy of tree branches and tried to see heaven.


    There was a growl, and the terror I'd been holding at bay zipped up my spine into my skull. I was sure my long hair stood on end, like when kids touched the electrostatic generator at the science museum.

    Something was coming for me, and it wasn't something from the woods. It'd been following me all day. Maybe even my entire life.

    Now don't be too concerned. Athena isn't left entirely to her own devices. Her older sister has her best interests in mind, and Dan Lipinsky, Athena's secret crush, seems determined to make her one of his closest friends.

    Is there really such a thing as ghosts? Are there dark angels intent on making us miserable? How many of us have abilities we haven't embraced? DEATH CHEATER is an exploration into forces from the other side and our power to choose what is right over what they would influence us to do. Meet Athena Gray today and find out more.

    Happy Haunting,
    Danielle Thorne


    Danielle Thorne is the author of sweet romantic adventure books, both historical and contemporary. She has published poetry, short fiction and novels. Danielle currently writes from south of Atlanta, Georgia. She was the 2009-2010 Co-Chair for the New Voices Competition for young writers, is active with online author groups such as Classic Romance Revival and EPIC, and she moderates for The Sweetest Romance Authors. Besides freelance editing and writing full time, Danielle has four sons with her husband, Rob. Together they enjoy travel and the outdoors. DEATH CHEATER is her first paranormal.

    I would love to meet you!
    Twitter: @DanielleThorne

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    Who Will You be for Halloween?

    By YA Author Andrea Buginsky

    Creativity comes in many forms. Your writing isn’t the only way you can express it; you can also draw, paint, doodle, play music, and dress up.

    That’s right: Dress up. Pull out some clothes, shoes, and accessories, put on your six-year-old hat, and create some characters for your stories. With Halloween only four weeks away, this is the perfect time to play Dress Up.

    When you delve into other creative activities, such as playing dress up, you unlike your mind’s potential to create, which only serves to help you write more, and write better. Playing Dress Up is a great way to really get into your character’s head, and create some new characters too. If you’re having trouble getting started, try dressing up like your favorite literary characters, just like you would on Halloween. Then, mix-and-match outfits to create new, unique characters that may speak to you and say “Write about me!”

    Be sure to keep a pad and pen handy so you can begin to jot down notes and character sketches as you play and come up with fresh ideas for your current characters, and create new ones. If you’re feeling brave, invite a friend or family member to join you. You may feel inspired by one of their creations, too. Have fun!

    Andrea Buginsky is a freelance writer and author. “The Chosen” was her first book, and was followed by “My Open Heart,” an autobiography about growing up with heart disease. “Nature’s Unbalance” is the second story in THE CHOSEN series. Andrea plans to write more in the series. She’s already done with the first draft of book 3 and has a concept for book 4. You can find Andrea on her website, Andi’s Realm. Her books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

    Making Your Characters Come Alive

    What makes a book one you are unable to put down? Why do you identify with some characters right away and others leave you cold? It's the characters. They become your companions as you travel through the book. You see their lives as they unfold before you. Each sentence cementing your opinion of them. Some characters are the kind you would like to bring home with you and introduce to your family. While others are ones you might never want to meet, but their lives are so vibrant you can't stop thinking about them. Many times readers connect with the villains in a story and even though the character might be repugnant to them, the readers can't stop reading about this character.

    Examples of this kind of character can be seen in the Harry Potter books. Harry Potter as a character becomes someone you can't stop reading about and about whose life you feel strongly. His opposite, Voldemort is a mean and vicious villain. But each of these characters' lives becomes a thread you must hold onto until the book is finished.

    To use an example of one of my own characters, Carolyn Samuels in my young adult novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor is someone who most readers connect with and whose story they want to follow. Many of the reviews say the reader couldn't put this book down. The same is true for the mean girl, Jennifer Taylor in the same novel, whose story intersects with Carolyn's. Many readers identify with Jennifer. She is a very complicated character whose mean streak has a reason.

    How do you create such a character? What does a writer need to do to fashion characters like these? I think the one thing that a reader will be attracted to is a truthful portrayal of the character. To do this you as a writer must know your character even before you write one word on your page. Knowing what is most important to this character and what they will do to get it gives the writer a way to create a strong plot line. Make your readers feel something for your character right away on the first page. In other words, hook them with your first paragraph. Surround your character with people and/or animals who will reflect the kind of person your character is. With a strong and charismatic character and a well organized plot line yours will be one of the books that people say they can't put down.

    What happens when you have created strong characters and have a good plot line is the story will write itself. The best time is when the characters start to interact and you have no idea what they will say. Yet there it is on the page. Your characters have written the story and you have transcribed it. The best parts of my novel were written this way. If while you are writing a character seems to want to shine a little more, let it. Don't try to fence in your characters. They need room to grow and expand and the best characters show growth by the end of the book.

    Carolyn Samuels is obsessed with the idea of being popular. She is convinced that the only thing keeping her from happiness is her too heavy for fashion body and not being a cheerleader. Hyperventilating when she gets nervous doesn’t help. When she is paired for a math project with the girl who tormented her in middle school, Jennifer Taylor, she is sure it is going to be another year of pain. With Carolyn’s crush on Jennifer’s hunky junior quarterback, Brad her freshman year in high school looks like a rerun of middle school. When Jennifer is the only student who knows why she fell in gym class, Carolyn is blackmailed into doing her math homework in return for Jennifer’s silence. Jennifer takes on Carolyn as a pity project since she can’t be seen with someone who dresses in jeans and sweatshirts. When Jennifer invites Carolyn to spend the night to make her over and teach her to tumble, Carolyn learns Jennifer’s secret and lies to her own friends to cover it up. Will Carolyn become a cheerleader and popular? Does she continue to keep Jennifer’s secret? Or will she be a target of this mean girl again?

    Find If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor as an ebook or in print:

    Muse Bookstore: http://tinyurl.com/8qwg6dx

    Barnes and Noblehttp://tinyurl.com/82tguul

    Barbara Ehrentreu Bio:

    Barbara, a retired teacher with a Masters degree in Reading and Writing K-12 and seventeen years of teaching experience lives with her family in Stamford, Connecticut. She has been editing for 4RVPublishing for several years. When she received her Masters degree she began writing seriously. If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor is Barbara’s first YA novel published by MuseItUp Publishing. It won 2nd place in Preditors and Editors Best Young Adult Novel of 2011. In addition she has a story in the anthology: Lavender Dreams and three poems in Prompted: An International Collection of Poems and five poems in Beyond the Dark Room: An International Collection of Transformational Poetry.  Several of her poems have been published in online magazines. Her blog, Barbara’s Meanderings, http://barbaraehrentreu.blogspot.com/, is networked on both Facebook and Blog Catalog. She hosts Red River Writers Live Tales from the Pages on Blog Talk Radio every 4th Thursday. In addition, her children's story, “The Trouble with Follow the Leader” and an adult story, “Out on a Ledge” are published online She has written book reviews for Authorlink.com. and several of her reviews have been on Acewriters and Celebrity CafĂ©. She is a member of SCBWI. Writing is her life!