Death Knocks Cover Reveal

When faced with a Monday, what better way to deter the blues than with some awesome?

My Monday Awesome is the cover reveal for the Paranormal Thriller Death Knocks by Miranda Hardy and Jay Noel.

Death Knocks Cover

Who knew a knock at the door could rupture your entire world? They don’t demand money or possessions…they want much more than that, they want your life.

Maverick is preparing for senior year: he’s no longer stuck in the “friend-zone” with the girl of his dreams, he’s looking forward to choosing the right college and being on his own, and he plans to have a blast along the way.

But a knock on the door changes all of that forever.

Maverick begins a mind-altering, life-changing journey to discover the truth—a truth that certain individuals will do anything to keep hidden.

Death Knocks is a Young Adult paranormal thriller about the strange global phenomenon known as the Black-Eyed Kids. Take a creepy and exciting ride in a world where myth meets reality.

Death Knocks is scheduled for publication on September 26, 2014 by Quixotic Publishing.

I’m thrilled and can’t wait! Also, check out this trailer:

Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic

There are thousands of books out there on how to write books. Books on structure, creating a great hook, and on show vs. tell. Some of them are great, and some of them aren’t so great.

Enter Jane Eyre.

Writer’s Digest has a collection of annotated classics that provide great insight on how past writers have created their masterpieces. Thanks to K.M. Weiland, the classic Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is now a part of that collection.

If you’ve never read Jane Eyre, I suggest reading it before picking up this annotated edition. Mainly because it is a great book, but also because, if you’re anything like me, you’ll get so swept up in the story you’ll bypass the notes. I’d never read Jane Eyre before. But, when the opportunity presented itself to read this, I decided it was time. So, I read the book, then I went back through and read the annotations by K.M. Weiland.

Understanding structure and how a novel progresses can be a difficult thing sometimes. With the annotated version of Jane Eyre, K.M. Weiland makes it easy to see where in the story the key factors to make a great story take place. She explains the hook, setting, conflict, tension, using all five senses, closing chapters, and symbolism and theme to name a few. And it’s not just, “Hey, this is where this happens.” It’s a detailed description of how Bronte used these aspects of writing to better her story.

This is one of the few writing advice books I would recommend, not because it gives advice, but because it helps you to understand how you can make your story really shine by offering examples.

The book is set to release on August 1st, so mark your calendar and get ready to really learn how to make your story shine. I give it 5 stars.

5star

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I received an eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Space Games

I haven’t done a lot of writing lately. I started #JuNoWriMo with an idea for a scifi that is super fun and I was really excited to get to writing it, but soon I realized that it’s nowhere near ready. That’s fine. But I didn’t have anything else ready to work on either.

So, I decided to do a bit of gaming. I had two new games that I hadn’t yet had the chance to indulge in.

FTL: Faster Than Light is a fun game.

FTL Screenshot

Screenshot from the start of a new game.

It’s also extremely difficult, infuriating, and addictive! The farthest I’ve gotten is five sectors in before I’m completely decimated by rebels. I’ve never wanted to play a game I know I will fail at so badly! I admit, I went looking for cheats. I found a few tutorials on YouTube, but they all required the download of a cheat program that I’m just not comfortable with. So, I play knowing that I will probably fail, and yet still determined to try different strategies for a win.

Like I said. Addictive.

The other game is Endless Space.

Start menu screenshot.

Start menu screenshot.

This is a turn-based game much in the vein of Civilization and Alpha Centauri. The difference is, instead of colonizing a world, you’re colonizing a galaxy. I’ve always enjoyed these kinds of games. You can do so much by tweaking a few things, playing different factions, and utilizing different strategies. I’m still learning the ins and outs of this one though, so I’ve only won a single game so far. I’ll get to the point of winning every game eventually though.

One thing that I’ve noticed about these games is how easily ideas come to me while I’m playing them. Something happens in game that I either planned for or was a happy (or not so happy) accident and it starts an avalanche of ideas. Some are for the scifi I set aside for now, and others are for different stories I’ve had floating around in my head.

It’s a nice change of pace to sit back and play games. I’ve not done that in a long time and my creative well had begun to dry up. Games aren’t the only way I fill my well, but they do help moisten the walls at least=)

And that is what will be the topic of my next newsletter (the Creative Well) at the end of July, so don’t forget to sign up on the right side bar! I’ll be doing a giveaway soon, and you don’t want to miss your chance to win super secret (for now) prizes=)

I hope everyone is having a great week!

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#IWSG: In Search of Inspiration

It’s the first Wednesday of the month which means it’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG). The brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, it’s a monthly gathering to post insecurities and current writing problems or to provide inspiration to other writers. You can learn more about it on the blog, and don’t forget to join the Facebook Group!

In last month’s post, I talked about my inner editor and the problems she gave me during the first few days of #JuNoWriMo. I got some amazing advice on how to shut her up, and plan on testing all of them over the next few months.

First, I have to write though…

June turned out to be an incredibly painful month for me. So much so, I had to cancel going to a Journey concert with a couple of friends because I hurt too much. It’s something that’s been getting progressively worse and something I really should look into.

Anyways, I don’t want to concentrate this month’s post on my aching body, so I’ll move on to what I do want to focus it on… Inspiration!

Not long ago, I went searching for inspirational writing quotes. I found quite a few, and decided I’d do something with my favorites… I made Facebook Covers and put one up on my page.

FB Cover Shot

As it got closer and closer to #IWSG, I thought I might share them for you to use=) So, if you see one you like, feel free to use it for your Facebook Page or Profile Cover. If you have a particular quote you like that you want to see turned into something similar, let me know and I’ll fix it up for you=)

Now, for the covers:

FBPageCover1

FBPageCover2

FBPageCover3

FBPageCover4

FBPageCover5

FBPageCover6-1

I hope you all are having a wonderful day and continue to have a wonderful month!

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Let the Word Wars Begin!

Word Wars BadgeIt’s time for the Word Wars Blogfest! For the next three days, this blog post will be dedicated to updates while I write my #JuNoWriMo novel. I do not plan on having all 50K words done by the thirteenth, but my personal goal for this live-blogging blogfest is to get through 25K.

(Want to join in, but didn’t sign up in the linky in time? No problem! You can still join us, just leave a link to your blog in the comments section!)

Day 1, June 11

6:00 am: I’m still asleep right now, but I’ll be up soon enough.

8:39 am: Awake. Sort of. Time to get some wake up juice and throw something at the kids in hopes that it’s edible. Mornings should be illegal.

8:55 am: Coffee ingested, procrastination on Facebook achieved. TIME FOR WORDS!

10:37 am: Why do I only have 339 words written? An hour and a half and that’s all I’ve got? Guh. Time to plug in the music and refill my coffee.

11:20 am: Just figured out names for a few of my characters thanks to Scrivener’s Name Generator, but I still need one for a Prince. I’m taking suggestions. So far, Rubric is suggested, but need more options. Word count the same.

2:48 pm: Distracted by Tweetdeck hack and Twitter pitch party #SFFpit. Also, lunch for the kids. 1153 words so far today. Could be better, but my prime writing time is later tonight.

5:29 pm: Word count still too low. Getting ready to eat and then back to it. 1653 and counting.

8:34 pm: Food consumed, impromptu visit to sister’s new place done, and van gassed up for tomorrow. Time to word!

12:04 am: Looking for character inspiration totally counts toward wording, right? Calling it a night at 2274. See you in the morning!

Day 2, June 12

11:45 am: Busy morning with no ability to write or update the blog. Boo! But I’m here now and ready to write more words!

1:13 pm: My children have chosen today to be extra loud and rambunctious. Total words written since I sat down today – 15. That’s it. Le sigh.

8:09 pm: Migraines must be catching because I was on the verge of one all day. Thankfully, I was able to go get some medicine for it (along with some awesome chocolates), and I’m starting to feel better! Now, let’s add a couple of zeros after that 15!

11:45 pm: Things are not going well for me. I’ve stared at he screen for hours pulling blanks and then using strike-through on everything I write. So, I’ve opened up a new folder and I’m starting over on a particular scene. Let’s see how this goes…

2:02 am: Bedtime. I’ve gotten another 810 words written today for a total of 825. Let’s hope for better tomorrow!

Day 3, June 13

8:30 am: I’m up. I’m not awake yet, but I’m up.

4:10 pm: I swear, I posted that just a couple of hours ago! Today is going by fast, but it’s not over yet! I’ve gotten 1395 words written so far (YAY!) and more to write tonight! And just so you know, this is probably going to be a loooonnng night. ;-)

10:10 pm: I’ve been gone for some long stretches today! Another two or three hour stretch ahead as I get ready to take a break from the computer for a couple hours of DIVERGENT! It’s a necessary evil ;-) I’ve got 2467 so far=) I’ll be back in a couple hours to word on!

10:38 pm: Just discovered Divergent isn’t out yet. I swear I’ve seen it on Xbox video, but it’s not out until August 5th. Well, I still need a break from the screen and there are other movies.

12:45 am: (I don’t care that the calendar turned with the clock, it’s still Friday to me!) So, we didn’t watch a movie. We turned on some Supernatural instead. Once I got back on the computer, I did a bit of blog reading (love, love, love Lilith Saintcrow’s blog) and commenting and now, it’s back to words.

2:49 am: Okay. I’m exhausted. After the migraine yesterday (they seriously wear me out), the too few hours of sleep last night, and another long night tonight, I’m calling it. My count for today is at 3742 making MY TOTAL WORD COUNT 6841!

Whoop! *blasts confetti gun*

Sometime in the next couple of days I’ll do a follow-up post.

For now, good night!

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Oh! And don’t forget to visit the other blogs in the list!

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#IWSG: The Inner Editor

It’s the first Wednesday of the month which means it’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! The brainchild of Alex J. Cavanagh, the IWSG is where writers get together to share their insecurities and/or offer a bit of inspiration. You can learn more about it on the blog and join the Facebook Group.

Insecure Writer's Support Group

I decided to join JuNoWriMo. I haven’t had much of a chance to write yet this month, and, with my kids home for summer break, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to reach the 50K goal by the end of the month. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try. I’m going to eek out as much writing time as I can, steal minutes on Scrivener, and take a few days to relegate the caring of our children to the husband.

My biggest thing this month though? My inner editor.

I participated in some of the sprints on Twitter last night and toward the end, I deleted about 200 words. A BIG No-No during JuNoWriMo. Getting started is an issue anyway. I had my first line(s) ready and in my head, but had to scrape the bottom of my brain to get even a few lines after that. My sprint counts weren’t as great as I would have liked, but with as hard as it was to get words out, I’ll take what I got.

But I need to figure out how to turn the inner editor off. I’ve had issues with this before, but I don’t remember it being on this scale this early on. When I wrote my Cinderella story, Orchids and Ash, for the April A to Z Challenge, I didn’t have nearly as much trouble. And I think I can pinpoint why this one is giving me so much trouble.

A couple of things, actually. First, it’s a challenge. This book is going to challenge me like nothing else I’ve ever written. Not just getting 50,000 words of it written in a month, but the genre, the characters, the subject matter. It’s ALL a challenge. Second, I thought this book out A LOT, and by a lot I mean, I obsessed. I took a few ideas for stories I had and blended them together until I had a blue print for what I want the story to be. And then I thought about it some more. I imagined characters and settings and got to the point where I dreamed this story. So, I’ve got a particular idea of how I want the story to sound, the meter with which it will be read, and a first draft will NOT incorporate those ideas. So, Inner Editor is screaming at me.

How do I turn it off?

I’ve blocked it before, and I’m positive I’ll be able to block it again. I just don’t like the in-between of the extremely loud yelling before I find the ear plugs.

Anyways, I’m looking forward to facing this challenge head on.

And speaking of challenge, don’t forget to sign up for the Word Wars Blogfest!

Until next time=)

Are you participating in JuNoWriMo? Have you signed up for the Word Wars Blogfest?

Word Wars Blogfest Sign-up

Word Wars

A couple of years ago, I came across two well known authors having what was called a word war with each other and live-blogging it. I loved it. I followed along in anticipation of seeing who would come out the victor. Since then, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of having a word war and live-blogging it just like they did.

But I wanted to do it on a grander scale. So, I got in touch with a good friend of mine, Sarah Chafin at Simply Sarah, and we decided to host a word war of our own… as a blogfest!

How it works

A word war is when two or more writers set a goal of a certain number of words that has to be written. The first writer to reach the goal is the winner.

Live-blogging is when someone updates a particular blog post throughout some event, whatever the event.

For the Word Wars Blogfest, we aren’t going to limit ourselves to a particular number. The goal is to write as many words as you can throughout the three day event. Every once in a while, get on your blog and update your status. Kind of like this:

June 11, 8:05 AM – Just got up and ate breakfast. Let’s get this party started!!

9:34 AM – Spilled my coffee all over my lap. Time to get dressed, or just change into different pajama pants? 1372 words.

11:56 AM – Mom called and had an emergency that wasn’t an emergency. Spent the last two hours calming her down. Word count the same.

Update as much or as little as you like throughout the three days. It’s totally up to you.

When it happens

The linky list will be up starting today (May 30th) until June 9th at 11:55 PM EST (US). The actual Word War will take place from June 11th to the 13th.

This gives you plenty of time to sign up and a day to get everything you might need ready before the live-blogging begins.

What you need

Most of this is completely up to you, but a blog would most certainly help. Even if you don’t have a blog, you can use Facebook Notes and just link to that. Don’t have either? See if a blogger friend will let you take over for a couple of days.

As for anything else: your favorite writing snack, some good music, a sign for your door so your family or friends know not to bother you, etc. Basically, whatever will make this fun for you!

Why you should sign up

The writing community is one of the best parts of being a writer. Even with a name like Word War, this is a great way to go out and support your fellow writers and allow your fellow writers to support you. You win by writing. You win by making new friends. You win by taking part in something fun and productive.

You might also come up with some great insights into your own writing schedule (when you’re most productive, when you’re least productive, and when you are more often distracted).

Okay, I’ve signed up. What now?

There are a few things you could do:

  1. Grab the badge at the top of this post. You’ll want to display it somewhere prominent during the blogfest.
  2. Let others know you’re taking part. A signal boost on Facebook, Twitter, or a blog post will get more people involved and create better opportunity to meet even more writers.
  3. Get rid of CAPTCHA. Because it’s really annoying to anyone who wants to comment on your progress. Most blog platforms are really good at filtering spam or you could turn on comment moderation.

Even if you can’t participate all three days, that’s okay. This isn’t about who writes the most words, it’s about sitting down with a group of like-minded people to get some words on paper (or screen) in a fun and supportive way.

Hope to see you there=)

PS – A special thanks to Carrie Butler for creating the amazing badge for the Word Wars Blogfest! 

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