Dec 29, 2009

Happy New Year!

Just wanted to say happy new year while i've got the chance. As you know, I'm a out-of-state college student so this is the first time I've seen my family in months. Hope everyone else is enjoying the holidays!

Just make sure your new year doesn't start off with as much a bang as this guy's!

Dec 17, 2009

Teaser Thursday: Yes, yes he's British!


On of my MC's is British and I think I'm in love with him even more after reading about Hunter in the Sweep Series. Made me appreciate my character, Aiden. In light of this appreciation post, I've decided to post an excerpt about him. Enjoy (which, if sexy foreigners are your thing, then I know you will)! Hehe.

I feigned a smile to Chad and headed to the table across the cafeteria where Val had saved me a spot. Val and I chatted about Aiden Cooper--Chad’s incredibly handsome best-friend and our football team’s star receiver. Cooper was every girl’s dream of sexy British foreigner. His family had moved here from London a few years back. The red hair had been the reason for Val’s obsession, I think.

Unlike Aiden and me, most weren’t blessed with striking red hued hair. Though mine fell into the auburn category and his resembled my least favorite veggie--light, undercooked carrots. Don’t even get me started on his freckles. Seriously, you could play connect the dots with those suckers. Yet, despite my comments, there was no denying his uber-sexiness. He had the kind of mysterious grin that made most girls fan themselves.

Right now, he was sending his charm Val’s way.

“Maybe they’ll revoke his green-card sometime in the near future and he’ll need to marry someone so he can stay in the country,” Val mused.

“That someone would be you, right?”

Val flipped her sleek white-blond hair over her shoulder. “Of course. I’m up on the British slang. I googled it. Knickers. Airlocked. Face like a slapped arse. Yep, I know ‘em all.”

“Good for you. I’m sure Aiden won’t find the fact that you’re American and using British slang odd at all.”

Book Review: Dark Magick

Title: Dark Magick (Sweep Series Book 4)
Author: Cate Tiernan
Cover Artist: R. Gordon; Barry Marcus
Reading Level: 12 to 18
Paperback: 192 Pages
Publisher: Puffin
ISBN #: 0142409898

Morgan inherited a talent for witchcraft from her parents, and now she is the holder of her mother's Wiccan tools. The tools are awesome in their power, and Morgan's boyfriend Cal wants to see them, perhaps to seize the power for himself. "We are muirn beatha dans, and we will always be together," he reminds Morgan, and she wonders if this is really true. Is Cal the one she is destined to be with? Does she have a choice? Hunter, a member of the Wiccan High Council, says she doesn't have to be with him. But what is Hunter after? Who should Morgan believe?

My Opinion:
Morgan and Cal committed a terrible crime in the previous Sweep Book. She's insane with guilt over Hunter's death, yet Cal seems...fine. Happy, even. her trust in Cal and his mother begins to wane, and this leaves her wondering what they're truly after. Throw in Hunter's appearance at Practical Magick--alive and well, I might add--and we have one witch with a serious problem on her hands.

Is Cal her soulmate, her muirn beatha dans? Or is Hunter telling the truth about his sinister side?

The ending to this book broke my heart more than the previous! That's all I'm going to say about the ending though cause its a definite twist you have to read for yourself.

Cate's writing is great! I love Morgan, the girl who sees herself as a girl with a "strong" nose and flat chest. The girl who's lucky enough to have a boyfriend, nevermind a breathtaking one like Cal. Her character development in this novel made me smile. No longer does she see herself as the content girl who's simply happy to be with a gorgeous, god-like guy. She really stands on her own in this installment, losing some friends and gaining others. The pacing was great. I couldn't stop turning the pages, desperate to know what the heck Hunter was up to again.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Here's an excerpt from the first page(Spoiler Alert):

Snowflakes mixed with sleet whipped at my cheeks. I stumbled through the snow, supporting my boyfriend Cal's weight against me, my feet grew leaden and icy in my clogs. Cal stumbled, and I braced myself. In the moonlight, I peered up at his face, alarmed by how white he looked, how beaten, how ill. I trudged through the dark woods, feeling like every step away from the cliff took an hour.

The cliff. In my mind, I saw Hunter Niall falling backward, his arms windmilling as he went over the edge. Bile rose in my throat, and I swallowed convulsively. Yes, Cal was a mess, but Hunter was probably dead. Dead! And Cal and I had killed him.

Dec 16, 2009

Query Rough Draft...Whatchya think?

Please let me know what you guys think of my query rough draft. I seriously appreciate everybody's input. Thanks!

Dear ________,

Seventeen-year-old Evie Dawson has confronted enough shoplifters, talked down enough suicide attempters, studied with enough cheaters, and outsmarted enough backstabbers. Yet, amazingly, Fate manages to toss another problem her way--a teacher’s death.

Everyone says it’s a heart attack.

She’s convinced it’s murder.

Evie has no choice but to play detective. Unfortunately, Far’s Fall has one too many guilty suspects, forcing her to confront the school’s secretive cheerleaders, sketchy principal, sexy new teacher, and even her own friends. All for the sake

For Evie Dawson, its a far fall into the unknown. And with each secret uncovered, comes something not so black and white...

Never Kill a Boy on the Fifth Date, at approximately 65,000 words, is a Young Adult Mystery.

Dec 14, 2009

Rear Gear

Good grief, they've thought of everything! 

If, like me, you find the idea of a poodle with a daisy hanging from his rear end hilarious, then please check out this website. Thank god they aren't scratch & sniffs!

Dec 9, 2009

Sorry Guys!

I know I haven't been posting this week, but i've had so much studying to do for college exams and whatnot. I'll be back to normal posting come next week. Sorry guys!

Dec 3, 2009

Teaser Thursday

I decided to do something different today. Spice it up or what have you. So, instead of posting a teaser from my most recent novel, I'm posting a few pages from my very first novel. Feel free to laugh because, honestly, my writing was pretty bad back then. The novel was mainly about a fraternity that dabbled with the dark arts and whatnot. Enjoy : )

Dec 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Lori!

If you don't know who she is, she's the amazing blogger who's giving away three ARCS in honor of christmas/b-day. Awesome, right? Click here to enter.

Waiting on Wednesday: Jekel Loves Hyde

Hey, y'all! I'm finally giving into this lovely feature. So, here's the book I cannot wait to be released. Just look at the cover and summary! 

Title: Jekel Loves Hyde
Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books (May 3, 2010)
ISBN: 0152063900

Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents’ rules – especially the one about never opening the mysterious, old box in her father’s office. But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, she's tempted to peek inside, as the contents might be key to a lucrative chemistry scholarship.

To better her odds, Jill enlists the help of gorgeous, brooding Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen’s sanity. Maybe his life. But Jill’s accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and compels her to risk everything – even Tristen’s love – just for the thrill of being… bad.

Dec 1, 2009

Motivation: Why oh why did they do that?

Motivation is the reason characters think, feel, or act.

It's a known fact that a character with motivation is immediately more realistic and effective than one without. While it has its limits, the more motivation, the better. 

Here's two basic examples. One good. One bad.

Joanne was tired, swaying in her grandma's mahogany chair. Summoning up the strength to move proved impossible. Yet, stifling a yawn, she managed and poured herself a nice glass of tea from the pitcher.

Kayla had spent a long day kissing her boss's ass. I mean, he had been the one who got her that new promotion--even if it came with very, very long strings. An ice cold glass of tea temporarily soothed her seething thoughts. Thank god. She was beginning to wonder if she'd ever make a decision. 

As you can see, there's a lot of information about what Joanne's doing, but not much else. Reading the two examples, its easy to feel for one girl more than the other. Kayla has reasons for the way she's feeling, making her more relatable. Not to mention the ass-kissing. Seriously, who hasn't done that in one job or another?

Every movement, every chapter should have a meaning to it. Whether it's scouring the library for information on a murderer or finishing a scarf to beat The Old Ladies Weaving Society and stop their evil plot for world domination. After all, why should we care about the scarf is it's just to say, 'Look! I won!" Adding world domination into the mix and some inward struggles, we feel compelled to read what happens. We have to see to it that those old ladies are stopped.

Motives create sequential action. Thinks of hamsters running on their little wheels to get food pellets in science experiments. The hamster aren't running for the thrill (well, some do but they're stupid), they are running to scarf down those oh so yummy pellets.

However, this DOES NOT mean you need loads of stuff happening to make the reader involved in your story.

Motives can be physical or psychological. 

Zoran Bekric has great information on motivation and how it relates to a story, which can be found here. But, I thought I'd quote him on here anyway. 

He says,

In the classic formulation, 'drama is conflict.' This is often misinterpreted to mean that, in order to be dramatic, a story has to have combat in it. This is untrue--as sheer number of highly effective stories that exist without a single punch being thrown should demonstrate. This is not to say that combat is unexciting--a good fight can be very eye-catching and stimulating--but without any sort of context, it's ultimately meaningless.

And, that's what motivation is. Context. Meanings behind your MC's actions. Why does he/she do the things they do?  You have to make the reader care about what's at stake. Who wins and who loses. Remember that the most intriguing clashes of motivation in a story are not only between the dueling motivations of two characters, but of the conflicting internal motivations as well.

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts.

Writers: What motivates your main characters? Is he/she someone you can relate to? Feel sorry for? How did you come to defining your character through their struggles?

Readers: What books have you read recently where you were engrossed in the main character's life? What books made you stop reading halfway through because you couldn't stand/relate to the MC? Why did you feel one way or another?

Nov 27, 2009

Vampire Academy

Today I spent 17 dollars on a book that I already own. From the title, I'm pretty sure you can guess which one. Why? Because, at the very end, is the first chapter of Spirit Bound and I've been dying to get my hands on this book. I have to say that it was worth the damn 17 dollars. It put my mind at ease about when the novel will take place. 

Takes a moment to let the chapter sink in.

Okay, I'm back. Seriously, if you're a VA lover you should read this first chapter. Amazing how one simple chapter answers so many of my questions about Rose, Adrian, Lissa and the rest. Just thought I'd let you know because Razorbill only has a limited number of these babies and I snatched the very last one at the Borders near me. 

Anyway, I'm heading off to work now. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving : )

Nov 24, 2009

Mine, Mine : )

So, I really didn't want to post this because I wanted to keep this all too myself. Seriously, I sooo want Hush, Hush and Evermore, but anyway the kindness of my heart won out (okay, and the extra points I get in the contest).

Check out the contest here. Hush, Hush, Evermore, Ender's Game, and City and the Stars are just a few of the awesome books being given away. Enjoy : )

Now, A Teaser from my Novel

So, I just realized this Thursday is Thanksgiving and I doubt I'll have time to post anything during my excessive burning of food. Yeah, I'm a horrible cook. I'm surprised I haven't found a way to burn water yet. Awell, give me time and I will.

Anyway, here's a snippet involving Evie, Derek, and a few skulls. Enjoy.

*Now Closed. Thanks for the comments!*

Teaser Tuesday--Book of Shadows

Today I'm rather crunched for time, so I figured I'd share a teaser of my current read. 

My Teaser: Book of Shadows (Sweep Book 1) by Cate Tiernan

"Now that I know about it, it seems like traces of Wicca are everywhere I look. My mom was talking about going up to Red Kill to buy a pumpkin for Halloween, and I realized where that tradition really comes from." --Spoken by Jenna on page 121

Feel free to post yours in the comments section. I'd love to know what my fellow bloggers are currently reading! You know the rules: open up to a random page and share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page. 

Nov 21, 2009

Author Interview: Carrie Jones

A Q&A with the amazing Carrie Jones!

Zara collects phobias the way other high school girls collect lipsticks. Little wonder, since life’s been pretty rough so far. Her father left, her stepfather just died, and her mother’s pretty much checked out. Now Zara’s living with her grandmother in sleepy, cold Maine so that she stays “safe.” Zara doesn’t think she’s in danger; she thinks her mother can’t deal.

Wrong. Turns out that guy she sees everywhere, the one leaving trails of gold glitter, isn’t a figment of her imagination. He’s a pixie—and not the cute, lovable kind with wings. He’s the kind who has dreadful, uncontrollable needs. And he’s trailing Zara.

From Ramblings to Interviews: When and why did you begin writing?

Carrie Jones: Well, I first started writing in nursery school. The teachers insisted. I didn't feel as if I had much choice. I had a hard time with the letters "P" and "D" and "Q" and "B" I was always flipping them upside down and the opposite ways so "P" would become "d."


RI: The magical beings in Need you've created are so unique. What inspired you to write them, seeing as the genre is different than your previous novels?


CJ: I really thought of it as a big experiment. I get bored terribly easily, and I had this strange experience that sort of pushed me to write.


I was at the Common Ground Fair, which is this huge, cool fair in Maine that’s sponsored by Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association (MOFGA). To get to the main part of the fair you have to walk through this sweet trail that curves through these tall spruce trees.

Right in front of me was this guy. He had a weird vibe. He was wearing all corduroy – blazer, pants. And sticking out from his blazer was this long tail-like appendage that was wrapped in different colored earth-toned cloth. I guess he could tell I was checking him out because he turned his head and looked at me. His eye was this startling silver color. How startling? So startling that I actually gasped and got creeped out. Then when we were in line to pay we made eye contact again and his eyes were brown.

I know! I know! I probably imagined the silver eye color.

It doesn’t matter. That was one of the main things that got me started. Then, I just had this image of a man standing outside an airport pointing at an airplane this girl was on.

It also creeped me out.

So, I started writing.


RI: Captivate, Need's sequel, will be finally be released on January 5th, and we've all read the summary on Amazon (sounds great btw!). But, can you tell us any more about it?


CJ: Um.... My editor made me cut out a lot of the love scenes, but there are still some in there....


I'm actually not supposed to talk about it. It is SO hard to not talk about it.

RI: When it comes to writing, do you outline, write blind, or have a mix between the two?


CJ: It depends on the project but usually I start out blind, get to about 50,000 words and then go back over it and create a chapter outline from what I have. Then I tend to cry, throw my hands up in frustration, and ignore my outline.


RI: Is there anything particularly challenging in your writing?

CJ: I tend to be a minimalist, and I tend to like love scenes and dialogue, so I'd say description and structure (see that last question about the outlines) are my biggest challenges.



RI: Any weird writing quirks?


CJ: I don't write naked.

I don't write upside down.

I don't write in a bathtub of strudel.

So, I think I'm a pretty boring writer, actually. 

I am one of those writers who writes better when they are happy. If someone is cranky at me or I watch the news before I write then I am pretty much blown for the day. Pathetic, I know.

RI: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?


CJ: Everything I could say seems like a cliche.

I mean it's cool if you:

1. Write every day (At least 100 words)

2. Read every day (At least 100 words)

3. Believe in yourself and your character and your story.

4. Have fun

5. Study the craft

6. Eat strudel

7. Don't get hung up on being the most awesome writer in the universe because once that happens you get writers' block.


But all the rules can be broken and everyone works in a different way

RI: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?


CJ: Thank you for reading! It is so nice of you! And thank you for not ripping the books in half and trying to flush them down the toilet. I really REALLY appreciate that.

RI: What's one question that no one ever asks, but you wish they would? (And answer please!)

CJ: Q. Carrie, why do you like puppies so much?

A. Because they wag their tails and lick you and they let you pet them all day long and they ALWAYS ALWAYS love you.


3 Quick Facts:

Book you're currently reading- 

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

Movie you've fallen in love with-

Dude, I am so easy. I love almost ALL movies. Seriously. It is sad.

Author you've grown to admire- 

I admire pretty much all of them. How about... um... oh! That's so hard. Today it's Rita Williams Garcia, but I've ALWAYS admired her.

RI: Again, thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions!

CJ: Oh, thank you for asking them!

Nov 20, 2009

Must Read This!

So, I came across this upcoming release (April 2010 to be exact) and have vowed to buy it the day it comes out. I'm in love with Greek life in college--hence, the name of my favorite show to your left. And, the cover even looks amazing! Check it out.

Read the summary here. Man, I can't wait for this novel.

Nov 19, 2009

Teaser Thursday

A little late, I know, but this is a good Derek & Evie moment. Enjoy : )

*Now Closed*

Baaa Baaa

Go sheep!

Nov 18, 2009

How NOT to Write a Novel

Read this. I bet you'll find it as amusing as I did.

Nov 16, 2009


I'm going to talk about the importance of story structure today. Everyone knows that all stories should have a beginning, middle, and end (i hope). And, I believe all forms of story need some sort of structure whether it be drawn, written, or pictured in your mind.

What is structure? There are so many types of structure geared toward specific genres, but the most commonly used is the three act structure, which dates back centuries. Another is the five act structure, and those of you who watch desperate housewives can see it in the show.

***I'm a Gabby & Carlos fan. There's something about his personality on the show that I find absolutely adorable.***

I'm going to talk about how I approach story structure. Keep in mind that writers work in different ways. I know writers who set out with no written planning and only an idea in their head of the general concept/plot. I also know writers who plan out each scene from the dialogue to character movements.

I would have to say my style is somewhere in between. I outline my novel chapter by chapter, but only with a sentence or two for each one. And, usually, the chapter doesn't correspond with my first outline because I found another path. But, I don't just go with the new path. I re-do my outline and make sure the story has a fast-paced feel. (I'm not one for MC's who go about daily routines. I know how to brush my teeth, so I don't need two sentences on how the MC's gums are being treated.)

Some people storyboard it. You know, the story structure diagram you learn in, like, seventh grade and you attach post-its along the way. I can see how it works for people, its a great way to truly visualize how your story's going. My characters never shut-up in my head so its pretty easy visualize what they are doing along the way and during the dialogue. THey love showing it to me.

The best advice I have for writers is to be open to change. Planning too much detail beforehand can confine yourself to that story line and you may never see a better one that's dying for your attention.

Also, if you have trouble understanding structure and outlining, I suggest sitting in front of a t.v. and writing outlines of some of your favorite movies. You'll begin to noticing how journeys start of and how (if it's a good show or movie) there's a point to every spoken word and the low points the characters always face before the big boom.

I'm interested in hearing from you guys. Do you outline? Do you write blind? Is there a mix to your writing? Structure relates to the age old argument of whether writing is an art or a teachable craft. Do you think structure helps create solid blockbusters?

Nov 14, 2009


Okay, so I decided to stop with the revisions today and pick up a book from my TBR pile. Yeah, the book was Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast. I'm on page 50 and don't know of ANY teenager that would talk like that. Poopie and turd. . .Really?

Does it get better?


Okay, the last thirty pages are good, but they don't make up for the rest of the book. Not sure if I'll read the next one. There's something about vamp guys with face tattoos that I find so. . .unattractive. Maybe if I pick up book 2 it may change. Not sure.

Before reading it, I read reviews on how beautiful the ceremonies were in it. I feel sort bad cause I completely skipped over them! They were just so long. Did anyone else feel the same way?

Meeting an Agent

*closing my insider scoop on the encounter. sorry if you missed it!*

 Now, I'm off to work on revisions the rest of the day. Have a great weekend!

Nov 13, 2009


Just got out of one of my jobs (waitressing, which pays my student loans) and lo and behold, there was a literary agent there with her family. Because of where I'm going to school, I'd have to say she was either in the town because of family event or vacation. Anyway, I'm posting the story tomorrow because work was hectic and i'm exhausted.

Email Alert

"I read your blog/comment a lot and was wondering what your novel is about. I myself am writing YA and look for a beta-reader."

Well, its still in editing so I don't want to say too much, but I will say that it's a YA mystery novel about a girl on the school newspaper who has a knack for solving crimes. Thrown in is a blooming romance between her and her new gym teacher who has some crazy secrets(and, no he's not a cop). So, that's all I'll say for now, but once I'm done editing and have my query ready to go, I'll post my query on here so you can get the scoop. 

About the beta-reading, I'm sorry to everyone (except the person who sent this email, which I offered to take a look and see if its something I feel I could offer a valid opinion on) but I have loads going on this month. Now, I'm beta-reading for two people, which is more than enough at the moment.

Also, remember THAT guy? I kicked his butt in a training session. Man, it felt great.

That's all for now! 

Sick of...

Here's a list of some characters I'm sick of seeing in novels:

1. B&B cheerleaders (blond & bitchy)--Not all cheerleaders are like this!

2. Native Americans who know all the old stories and traditions of their tribe to further a plot. Okay, I have a bestfriend who's NA and she knows nothing about her heritage. At least make 'em research their heritage to make it slightly different.

3. The evil clergy man. Yeah, enough said on that one.

4. The buffy replicates. Newsflash: You can't beat Buffy. Never. Stop trying.

5. The female protagonist complaining about the male-dominated world and using sexuality as a way to always get what she wants.

6. Angsty teens with no good reason to be. Can we get a sense of humor?

7. The hot jock who's suddenly attracted to plain jane.

8. This is a given, but I despise Mary/Gary Sues.

9. MC's that are written as bitches to prove their "tough."

10. Comic relief sidekicks that always have  a comment. It can get annoying sometimes and feel like theirs a laugh track in the novel.

11. Cops that the MC claims are oblivious to everything. Give them credit sometimes! I've never read a YA book where the cops were helpful.

Also, I think we should have more African American characters in novels. My MC's best friend, Lara, is and she's a non-bitchy cheerleader, too. See, you don't need stereo-types!

Win Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Great book for a gift or to read on a lonely night. The contest is being held over at Mindful Musings. Go on and enter!

Nov 11, 2009

Ahhh, the Rejectionist

Another post that makes me realize how much I love that blog! Read it, my friends, and you will not be disappointed. 

Nov 10, 2009

Characters, Characters

A great post by Rachelle Gardner prompted me to share with you how I develop my characters and give them life.

Generally, I draw a quick sketch of how I picture the MC. An example is the one below that I drew a couple minutes ago. I didn't want to use my original because it's loaded with my MC's information and quirks. I really want you guys to come up with your own/give you ideas on how to round out your MC. I say MC because I rarely sketch out the other main characters. They form themselves in my first draft, and when the time comes for re-writes I strengthen them. 

So, there's a basic character sketch of my MC. She's an amateur sleuth named Evie Dawson. I always try to set my MC's apart from the inside out. If you've noticed her hair is darker at the ends due to dye job gone wrong a couple years back. Luckily, its almost grown out. No, I don't mention this in my novel because its one of those quirks who have to get t know your MC better. Hopefully, plenty of traits will stand out in your manuscript that helps the reader form the character in their heads. More than likely, they won't see your MC exactly like you do and that's okay. You want your readers to use their imagination.

After sketching out my MC's appearance, I create various boxes that normally fill up an entire page with traits and goals and background info. Then, I put x's through boxes that practically replicate myself. I don't want to create any Mary Sue's after all. Then, I generally dedicate a page or two to bullets on what may or may not happen to her. Slowly, the main plot will create itself and many of the others can be used as subplots.

There's one thing I never plan out however (as weird as it sounds) and its romance. I never plan out who my MC ends up with because normally he makes himself known in the first draft. And, by using this method, I know the relationship develops on its own and I don't really have to worry about forcing any scenes. If by the end of the novel all that happens is a kiss, so be it. If by the end they've had so many obstacles that they're professing their love to one another and doing a heck of a lot more than kissing, so be it.

Like I've said in previous posts, romance isn't my forte. I only incorporate it when it works and use it as a delicious subplot. Also, be sure to include a few things that may surprise your reader about your character so they aren't some cardboard cut out. 

Hmmm. . .I guess what I do next is type up a sample chapter of solely dialogue between the main characters so I can develop their special sayings and stuff like that. When I'm done with my character sketching and light outlining, I stop and take a break before diving into the novel. I let the plot stew to be sure nothing else introduces itself. Normally, stuff does emerge, but its only little sidelines moments that I wind up deleting anyway because they don't further the story. 

Here's a great quote that I save to my computer with no recollection of where I got it from:

"As authors, it is our duty to create lovable, enticing characters. And do horrible, evil things to them."

To some extent, I listen to this saying. My characters aren't always super lovable. Even Miss Dawson has a snarky side that slowly breaks down throughout her investigation. BUT, I make her snarky side more funny and less bitchy so that way the reader isn't thinking, "Oh my god, what a bitch!"

So, er, there's my basic character sketching. Hope it helped!

Nov 7, 2009

Book Quiz

You Are Mystery

You are a natural problem solver. You like figuring out the best way to do something.

You are very intuitive. You are good at picking up on people's moods and predicting the future.

You can't help but being a bit of a detective and a snoop. You always want to know what's going on.

And while you may have the scoop on everyone you know, you're not a gossip. You're a pro at keeping secrets.

Nov 6, 2009

Editing 101

Passive verbs. Half the battle is figuring out what they are, so you incorporate them much less the next time around.  

Many people also don't realize their abuse of the "to be" verb. (am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been, become, became) First off, I suggest using the Find/Highlight option on your computer to check how often you're using them. You may or may not be surprised how much these words eat their way into your pages.

Today, I'm going to talk about was, were, and other variations of the "state of being." 

"Was" and "were" are my safety blanket. They're the verbs I use when nothing else pops into my mind.  If you are using these verbs, I can guarantee you there is a stronger, more active verb just itching to be used.

1. How to recognize active and passive sentences.
a. Find the subject (the MC of the sentence so to speak)
b. Find the main verb (the action that the sentence identifies)
c. Examine the relationship between the subject and main verb
-Do the subject perform the action of the main verb? (If yes, then its active.)
-Doe the subject sit there while something else performs an action? (If yes, your sentence is passive, my friend.)
-Can't tell? If the main verb is a linking verb (the ones mentioned above) then the verb functions like an equal sing. There's no action involved.

2. Basic Examples
"I love you." --> Active
"You are loved by me." --> Passive

3. Difference between Passive Voice and Past Tense
a. Many people confuse the passive voice with the past tense. The most commong passive constructions also happen to be past tense (ex. I've been framed.), but "voice" has to do with who, while "tense" has to do with when.

Past Tense:  
Active: I taught  Passive: I was (have been) taught [by someone]
Present Tense: 
Active: I teach    Passive: I am (being) taught [by someone]

4. The Passive Voice is not always Wrong!
a. passive verbs are not automatically wrong. When used rarely and deliberately, the passive voice serves an important purpose.
-When you want to downplay an action
-When you want to downplay the character
-When the character is unknown

Here are some trickier examples of passive voice:

"Punctuality seems important." & "Remember to brush your teeth."

There's loads of information online that, when it comes time for editing, you can use for research. As for me, I found this information here. And, they have a lot more information on their website if, like me, you're working on draft 2.

Nov 5, 2009

Teaser Thursday

As usual, I'm posting my teaser on thursday rather than tuesday because I like to be different. Here's a scene from my Veronica Mars-esque YA mystery that I'm currently working on draft 2. Enjoy because this is the first scene I've posted between her and Chad (if it's your first time reading my post I usually keep the scenes with her teacher)

*Teaser Now Closed. Thanks for the comments!*

Nov 4, 2009

Helpful Blogger Award

Helpful Blogger Award 
A recent comment on Roni's blog inspired me to create this award. I haven't seen one like it yet, which is a shame because there should be! In my following list there are tons of bloggers who help out the rest of the blogging community and it's amazing. I'm going to make up the award rules as I go, but I promise not to make them corny.

The Helpful Blogger Award Rules
Include the award logo in your blog or post.
Link to post where you received the award.
Nominate seven blogs that you feel are helpful to others.
Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
Let them know they've received the award by commenting on their blog.
Share one thing that no one knows about you & quote a sentence from your favorite book.

&&& I award these helpers : )

1. Roni-- She did inspire me to create this after all. Check out her blog for amazing writing tips.
2. Lori @ Pure Imagination--Always posting helpful YA book reviews and encouraging others to read through giveaways.
3. Suzie Townsend--An amazing literary agent who even post book reviews, which can help aspiring writers can a true sense of her likes/dislikes.
4. Lynnette Labelle--Another writer with valuable tips she's willing to share with the rest of us.
5. Jodi Meadows--Always posting what's interesting. Plus, she has adorable ferrets. 
6. Julie--She's got the make-you-think posts down. And, she's my betareader, so I'm slightly biased.
7. Kirsten Rice--A now agented writer who's sharing her journey with us this very moment.

Secret: No one knows that I . . . *haha you missed it!*

Book Quote: "I wasn't thinking about the man who'd blown himself up." --an awesome first sentence that always stuck with me from the Temperance Brennan Novel: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs. These are the novels the hit tv show Bones is based on. Great read.

Nov 3, 2009

Flying Sidekicks

You probably have no idea where I'm going with this post, right? Well, see the picture above reminded me a lot of one I used to see in the martial arts studio I used to attend. The photo contained two people (my instructor and his father) on the beach facing each other in the air. Yes, both bodies were in this position, but their bodies were in proper form--shoulders squared, head high, arms. . .not like that--unlike this guy. It was a beautiful picture, and it cost them some serious doe to hire a photographer in my hometown for it.

Anyway, the picture was inspirational. Every time I looked at it, I imagined me on the beach doing a kick-ass flying sidekick. I loved martial arts, but quit at red-black belt. I know, I was one belt away from getting my black belt but stuff happened. Life happened. Too afraid to go back, I took up kickboxing in high school. I did it for a while, even impressing the teacher to be bumped up into a more advanced class. I wound up being very close to making it into the "top class." Then end of my senior year, I quit. 

Do you see the pattern here?

Both times I had inspiration and loads of reasons to keep trying my hardest. Yet, when the time came to finally accomplish these things, I quit. I didn't keep going. I didn't keep trying. I'm now in college and regularly  go running at six in the morning to stay in shape for the inevitable moment when I'm (hopefully) accepted into an ICE academy after college. Running is something I've never quit doing.

Want to know another thing I never quit? Yeah, you guessed it. Writing.

Man, I've piled up a few manuscripts--or as I like to call them, practice runs. Who hasn't though? That's what it takes to learn the craft. A craft that, in my opinion, you can never stop learning. The writing knowledge throughout books, and agents, and publishing companies, and the internet is endless.

My love of honing my skills in the craft is endless, too.

There's no pictures that inspire me to write, or words of encouragement, or movies. I write because there's something inside of me that compels me to do so. Granted, the genre I choose to write for is probably slightly based on my studies in Criminology, but so what. I love writing YA mysteries.  I heard a great quote that you might like, but can't remember where I got it from.

"Don't worry about writing a novel. Worry about telling a story, your story."

Cool, right?

So, I'm posting this post to remind myself as well as all of you why the ability to write is such a wonderful gift and why you should NEVER quit doing it. No matter how many rejections you pile up in your inbox. And, for all you Nano participants (sorry to say I am not one, nor have I ever been) good luck telling your stories! 


According to Fox news, a Wisonsin woman called 911 to report a drunk driver. It turned out she identified the driver as HERSELF.

Yeah, read that again.

The 911 tape was released the day after. She called the emergency number on Oct. 24th at about 11:20 p.m.

Here's the conversation:

Woman: "Somebody's really drunk drivingdown GrantonRoad."

Dispatcher: "Okay are you behind them, or. . ."

Woman: "No, I am them."

Dispatcher: "You am them?"

Woman: "Yes, I am them."

Dispatcher: "Okay, so you want to call and report that you're driving drunk?"

Woman: "Yes."

To hear the audio version click here. Trust me, it's worth hearing.

Nov 2, 2009

I told you: NO SWIMMING

How'd they know my first instinct would be to dive head first into dirt? Damn it. I brought my bathing suit and everything! It's alright though. I can find somewhere else.
What the hell? Okay, now I'm really getting aggravated. Why won't these people let me go for a swim? It's Florida, the beach capital or something like that.
Whatever. I give up. How bout I have a nice taco that's been sitting out far too long. Oh, and I hear they're looking for someone with a degree in English. Yeah, they need a Sign Editor or something. . .

*note: this is a case of extreme boredom and should not be taken seriously*

Twilight Goodies : )

Hey! Yeah, I'm talking to all you twi-hards. Go on over to Pure Imagination for your chance to win Twilight Goodies. Soundtrack, New Moon movie tie-in, wrist bands, bumper sticker, key chain. . .Oh, yes, they'll probably be more added during the month.

So, um, what you waiting for?

Oct 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Eat loads of candy, but stay away from the forks and spoons. Unless you want to end up like this lady.

Oct 30, 2009

Angsty anyone?

As a rebellious teenager, I experienced my share of angst. We all do a lot of stupid, sometimes dangerous things when we're young. And, oh yes, I'm still young. So, after watching Vampire Diaries last night (yes, yes i gave in to the madness), I thought I'd do a post on angst and novels.

The ULTIMATE ANGSTY COUPLE has to be from my favorite show Greek. So, naturally, I will use them as an example and can only hope you'll somewhat follow along. The season finale is next week and a mourning period is in order. 

I'm TEAM CAPPIE all the wayyy. No, no Evan Chambers doesn't do it for me. Not at all. Cappie has my heart. . .Maybe it's because he shares some of my boyfriend's traits. Who knows.  Talk about angst though. I've been watching this show forever and waiting for the two of them to finally be together. Sure enough, it happens this week, and I'm in soo much tooth pain to really enjoy it. Luckily, I record it so I will watch the episode again. . .And every other one for that matter.

Okay, back to angst and books.

In my novels, I try to incorporate a lot of realism in my books. My teens are flawed--and even a bit badass. They have real problems and make serious mistakes (like, say, imagining having sex with her teacher). I don't know know any other way to build characters without having them come out like some mary sue. 

For me, angst is good. . .and a little dark. Think: dark chocolate. It's sweet on your tongue, then there's a brief bitter moment where you're thinking about milk chocolate and wondering if it's betrayed you. . .And, then the richy goodness seeps into your taste buds and you find yourself savoring every minute of it. In books, I go back to the best dialogue parts between the two who are getting hot and heavy. (not too hot thought because it is YA) On tv, well, I hit rewind. 

There has to be good build-up or else the final moment when they finally get together is rather. . .bland. Bland, bland, bland.  I'm all for edgy angst. The kind that breaks rules and has you cringing for the MC because you know what she's doing is so WRONG, yet you can't look away.

Hmmm. . .I guess that's why mine has an oh so wrong student teacher affair, huh? 

The thing about angst is. . .you never get your relief right away. No, it builds and builds and has you savoring those little moments here and there where you get some sort of dialogue/ action that makes you smile and hold out for another hundred or so pages. Your tension is like an elastic band, building and building until it eventually snaps. Only, hold out on the snapping for as long as possible before you have your readers screaming, "C'mon already!"

So, what do you think about teenage angst? Can you still relate to the angsty novels being written these days? Are your characters angsty wangsty? Do you have your favorite angsty couple? (yes, tv show can count!)

Oct 29, 2009

Oh, where have you gone?

Dear Veronica,
You're greatly missed, but rest assured your super sleuth ways will not be forgotten. If you haven't realized it, I'm watching VM reruns. Anyone else miss the show, and its witty dialogue?

Omitting Scenes

When is it a good time to delete a scene? Here's my main reasons for hitting the good 'ol delete button. Lack of emotions: the focus may be on something other than your MC, and you find him/her sitting in the sidelines.  Or, is it too slow: Will the scene cut speed up the action of the story? 

Here's some more useful information on writing scenes:

Step 1. Consider the scene's placement in the overall novel. Where are the characters coming from--both physically and emotionally--and where will they proceed once the scene is done? Understand how the scene fits into the complete narrative arc and what purpose it plays in moving toward your conclusion.

Step 2. Work out the basic action in your scene: Which characters are involved, what do they do in the scene and how does their behavior change (or not change) the course of the narrative? You don't have to be that detailed, at least not yet. You just want a bare-bones framework of how it's all going to play out.

Step 3. Generate a tone for the scene consistent with the emotions you want to convey. If you're writing an action scene, it should be tension-filled and exciting. If it's a romantic breakup, it should be tragic and painful. The tone can come out in the emotions of the characters or the tenor of the description, but it needs to be consistent throughout the scene.

Step 4. Establish a setting for the scene that fits the mood and tone. It can be just about anywhere, though it should have a logical connection to the remainder of the story and be conducive to whatever action you have set up. Describe the setting to the reader at the beginning of the scene. You should give a strong impression of the locale and include any important details, but otherwise refrain from devolving into excess description.

Step 5. Write a draft of the scene based on your conclusions in the previous steps. Include any dialogue between the characters, descriptions of the things they do in the scene, a proper beginning, development and an end (which should logically proceed to the next scene).

Step 6. Revise your scene, cutting out any unnecessary details. Polish the prose if it needs work. Some authors like to do this as part of revising the novel as a whole. Others like to do it scene by scene, in order to keep themselves focused on the immediate task. Whatever method works best for you is the right one, but no scene is complete until it goes through at least one careful revision.

Tips & Warnings.
As your writing skills improve, consider experimenting with the way you write scenes. Work on flashbacks, cross-cutting, use of the present tense and similarly creative alternatives. Like everything else, it's preferable to start out with the basics, but plain-vanilla scenes can get boring after a well as prevent you from stretching your wings as a writer.


Oct 28, 2009


I've gotten a few emails asking more about what I'm going to school for and what insight I could offer when it comes to dead bodies. Some people have trouble getting the emotions down, so I'll try my best to help, but be warned this isn't an easy matter to write about.

Recently, I watched a forensic pathologist inspect a dead body for causes of death. The man was burned alive and I held on to my friend Kurt's hand to resist from throwing up. A lot of people write about dead bodies in novels. They write details that you want to believe, but that are usually not true.

Seeing death firsthand, I'd like to think I know a thing or two about it. So, I've decided to finally share my experience since I'm still rather out of it from my pain medication after having my wisdom teeth pulled. I never wanted to write about it, but maybe it'll help someone writing a novel that involves death.

Warning: If you have a weak stomach, stop reading here.

Walking in, I could smell nothing but burnt skin, and his face. . .Oh, god, his face--something I'll never forget. If someone's writing a ADULT murder mystery, they should know the facts. Like that the smell stays with you for days, and you usually have to burn your cloths. Or the fact that the mouth generally droops after so many hours. The face becomes distorted, twisted into a horrific grin that makes the face look as if his/her face had been ripped in half from the jaw. Sort of like the Black Dahlia murder if you've ever heard of it. 

My soon-to-be job isn't pretty, and I'll probably never get completely used to seeing dead bodies, which is okay because that's not the field I'm going into anyway. Many of you know I'll be going into ICE once I graduate, an I'll probably be working on human trafficking cases or marshals. 

Writing is a hobby to me, I've never looked at it for the possibility of being famous and having loads of money. I do it because ever since I had cancer, well, I'd like to think it keeps me sane and helps me think about things besides death. And now, I can't imagine ever stopping. Writing is something unbelievable and the ability to put my words on paper so easily is a gift, which I thank God for everyday. Sort of like my volunteer work. I feed animals at a BIG CAT REHABILITATION SITE. Lions, tigers, and ever bears I have the opportunity of feeding and nursing the little babies which is pretty sweet if you're into that sort of thing.

So, there's my random blog post that's probably making you , er, scratch your head. But, hey, all my experiences help me write my Veronica Mars esque novels. . .Have a great night.

Oct 27, 2009


Oh, no.

Today, my fellow writers, I'll be having my wisdom teeth pulled. Yes, I can hear the Jaws theme song playing in the background now. Hopefully, you'll be having a great day, while I search the internet for funny videos and pictures to make me laugh (not literally of course because that would hurt). 

So, stay tuned. I'll be back tomorrow with some writing post or some out there thoughts. Or , maybe, some of the funny pictures/videos I stumble across today.

Oct 26, 2009

Tackling Tone

Narrative Tone:
A style mistake that can seriously undermine your story.

Most well-written stories have consistent narrative tone. The world of the story is predominantly frothy, ironic, comic, tragic, horrific. And, whatever the ups and downs of the plot, the narrator will have a distinct way to tell them

Why am I stating the obvious?

According to professional ghost writer Roz Morris, the most common problem agents/editors come across in novice manuscripts is an inconsistent and uneven narrative tone. When that happens, the experience of the story is off balance. 

Readers NEED to connect with the narrative tone and the kinds of things the narrator says. Once the trust between reader/author is built, you have to remain consistent. Any sudden change in tone could put your reader off if its not welcome and doesn't make any sense whatsoever. 

There are three main reasons why novice writers do this:
1. To provide comic relief or moments of humour
2. To show contrasting world views
3. To make sure the reader has the correct opinion of the character

So, what should you do in each of these cases?

1. Comic Relief- Some writers design characters whose main contribution is to add humor, which is not a bad thing. But they then feel they have to signal that these characters will be the clowns of the novel. So they switch to a slapstick narrative tone, and the depth of characterization goes out the window.

Here's the thing. . .There's no need to switch! 


Let's take Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which had comedy throughout without abandoning its mainly tragic mood. Imagine if Buffy had a laugh track every time something amusing happened and what it would do to the story.

Luckily, there's a way to spot and fix this. Reread your comedy moments and ask yourself if you've added a laugh track. If it doesn't fit with the rest of the novel, rewrite it. Remember: If you're putting comic moments into a story, don't put on a different narrative voice for it.  If your emphasis is on character depth, get your comedy from this - put the characters in a situation that will bring out amusing reactions and behavior. The reader will get it, honestly.

2. World Views- Another reason writers break their narrative tone is to contrast different worlds or world-views. (Wow, spelling world make me look at the word funny. Seriously, isn't it a weird spelling?) For instance, a high-schooler's lonely home life is contrasted with the joy and frolics at the local college's fraternity party, waking her up to all the cute boys she's been missing. Clever idea, but what people often see is the boring home life scenes narrated with sensitivity and insight, and the frat party as though it was bitchy chick-lit because it's meant to be wild and frothy.

Ahhhh, no.

The effect isn't fun, its jarring. People who read sensitive, insightful novels may not be the same people who'd enjoy bitchy-ness. Vice versa. Like before, your narrator needs to stay 'in character' while conveying the contrast.

3. Correct Opinion of Character- You might decide to write a novel where you tell us what to think of each and every character. Or your novel might present the characters and let us make up our own minds. . .Got it?

The problem here is when the author will let us make up our own mind about a bunch of characters, but with others they tell us what to think. The change from subtlety to spoonfeeding is like being booted into a different book. Downright irritating. Readers who enjoy subtle characterization are usually different from readers who want to be told.

You can fix this by narrating all the characters, not matter how despicable, with the same degree of perception and depth.

Oct 25, 2009

Query Wars

Hmmm. . .So, it seems I haven't posted an update on my query wars the entire month! Well, not much has happened except one partial reject and another partial request, but I'll put it up anyway.

For those interested in my stats:

Total Queries: 31
    Q. Rejections: 13
    Q. to Partial Requests: 7
          In consideration: 4
          Rejections: 2
          Turned to Full: 1
     Q. I'm still waiting on: 11

Oct 23, 2009

Making your first page SPARKLE

If you want to be published, the first page of your novel HAS to be good. It HAS to draw the agent/editor/reader in.

Here are two links to read up on how to make your first page shine:

eHow and DarcyPat (my favorite)

Now, I'm off to work, and I won't be post anything tomorrow. Sorry guys, but I'll be doing the Buddy Walk (Down Syndrome) in my town. Have a great Saturday!

Oct 22, 2009

A Thought on MC

Problems can creep up on you like a shadow. And, very slowly, they grow over time like a plot. This thought just came to me, so bear with me if I don't make sense. Anyway, everyone needs a shadow. They need to learn from their shadows to help them develop.

So, here's a personal rule I thought up when writing your conflict: 

Every MC should have a shadow. And, the only way to get rid of the shadow is to turn off the lights, to stop running from the darkness and face what they fear. Head on. If your MC doesn't accomplish this in the end, then you, my friend, don't have a plot. You don't have a resolution, and you wind up leaving everything in the air.

You end up with unanswered questions, and readers who are scratching their heads.

Teaser Thursday

*closes excerpt*

Thanks for the comments! Next time I'll try to post it earlier in the day!

Oct 20, 2009

Another Book Contest! Ends 10/26

Click here for a chance to win the Cirque Du Freak series!

THAT guy

Okay, so today I did something bold. Very, very bold. Like how I put it in bold? Anyway,  I hung out with THAT guy.

"What guy?" you ask.

Let me explain who THAT guy is before I talk about what happened. In every group of friends, I've noticed there's THAT guy or THAT girl. I can describe his/her personality. They're the quiet one in the group. The friend you hang out with, but never alone. You may want to hang out with him/her, but you're all set.

Why? People fear hanging out with THAT guy messes with the group's dynamic. Think about it. What if you hang out with him/her and then you find out. . .He's a dud, and you knew there was a reason no one hung out with him outside of the group gatherings. The person is generally fine within the group, but their personality never seems to stand out or shine through whatever. 

My friend Josh (I'll call him Josh on here for the sake of privacy) warned me the other night not to hang out with THAT guy. He said people used to in the past, but they stopped. I found this odd and asked why people didn't hang out with him outside of the group.

You ready for it?

Josh said he didn't know why. So, I told Josh that was ridiculous, and I reminded him how he seems alright and that we should include him more. Well, we were going to a nearby boxing place, and I decided asking the seems-alright-but-who-knows guy wouldn't be the best idea. Sure enough, THAT guy showed up with some of our other friends at the boxing place. I took this as a sign.

After about an hour, I called it quits, walked over to THAT guy, and asked him what he's doing later. He said nothing, and I invited him to hang out with Josh and me. My first mistake was telling a fellow C Major that I was excited to get to know him better. Uh, let's just say we've all learned the tell-tale signs of lies, and he picked up on mine instantly.

Despite everything, he showed up--unfortunately Josh did not. There I was, left alone with THAT guy. We went for a run (a few of us are applying for an internship with ICE and we have to pass a tough physical exam. loads of running and stuff) and after the run I sat down beside him and asked him what's up.

Uh, two hours later, I found out there's a reason no one hangs out with THAT guy. He said seven words the entire day, and I know this because I counted. I tried to chalk it up to nervousness, but then his inner jerk emerged. And, man did I not like it. He said something about my friend Kim (again, not her real name either), and I flashed him a smile before telling him his major should've been Sexist Ass rather than Criminology.  

I went home, called up Josh, and told him WHY no one hangs out with him alone.

Turns out, THAT guy doesn't get asked to hang out outside of the group because his inner personality seeps out like poison--an example being jerkness.  So, there you have it. My first experience with THAT guy.

Going to go work on my current WIP. . . You've been warned about THAT guy people. Pass this revelation along!