Friday 28 June 2013

All the Guest Posts FTW

So up until Thursday night I was going to spend today talking about sexism in writing and how it's a male dominated profession and there was some witty reference to DickLit (as opposed to ChickLit). It was late, I thought I was a genius. And then I read it and was like

So instead I am going through all my old posts and showing you my collection of Guest Posts so you can admire them. Oh shiny. And while we're talking about guest posts, who are some people/genres that you would be interested in hearing from? I'm currently creating a list of  people that I want to talk to so feel free to add to it.

And here we go:
And that's it for this girl, now she's going to go and...have a nap, maybe plot a fan fic, read. Something befitting the end of a summer month.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Where I Talk About What I'm Reading

It's Wednesday. Wednesday was originally about books and reading and so as June comes to a close I thought I'd talk about the books that I'll be reading and reviewing in the coming months.

 So - in a somewhat particular order:

  • Prince of Earth by Mike Robinson
    • It had come back.
      It had come back and it was stronger.
      It’s been twenty years. Not again. Not now.
      Not anytime.

      In 1988, young American traveler Quincy Redding is trekking across the misty terrain of the Scottish Highlands. She is destined for the infamous peak Ben MacDui, the summit of which soon finds her inexplicably debilitated and at the mercy of a malevolent entity.

      The book spans twenty years, alternately following Quincy in her 1988 ordeal in Scotland as well as Quincy in 2008, when, as an adult, she begins experiencing abnormalities that threaten her family and her life – phenomena that may be related to what happened all those years ago.

      As both older and younger Quincy learn more of their situation, and as their worlds further entwine, she becomes increasingly uncertain of the perceived temporality or reality of each period.

  • Random Acts of Crazy by Julia Kent
    • I never intended to pick up a naked hitchhiker wearing nothing but a guitar. A guitar. Really. I don't collect guys like that (don't ask what kind of guys I do collect), but when you spot a blonde, tanned, sculpted man with a gorgeous smile and his thumb poking up and practically begging you to stop - you stop.

      And I definitely never thought I'd be staring into the bright blue eyes of Trevor Connor, the lead singer for Random Acts of Crazy, an indie rock star I followed like the slobbering fileshare fangirl I am. How he came to be nude and lost six hundred miles from home is quite the tale, but how we fell in love is even more unreal.

      Because someone like Trevor Connor, headed to Harvard Law next year, isn't supposed to want someone like me, a rural Ohio chick majoring in Boredom at Convenience Store University who is all curves and frizzy blonde hair and manners so unpolished they have sharp edges that make you bleed.

      But he did.

      When his best friend, Joe Ross, the bass player for Random Acts of Crazy and a man who makes Calvin Klein models look like Shrek, drove eleven hours through the night to rescue him, though, it got real complicated. It's one thing to like two different guys and be torn.

      What do you do, though, when maybe - just maybe - you don't have to choose?

      As my Aunt Josie says sometimes, "It's always complicated."

      * * * * * *
      Random Acts of Crazy is a standalone, full-length novel (300+ pages, 85,000 words) featuring Darla Jo(sephine) Jennings, the 22-year-old niece of Josie Mendham from the Her Two Billionaires series. It has, like many New Adult novels, an exploration of sexuality for the three main characters, doesn't shy away from mature content, and Darla has a sailor's mouth.

  • Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor
    • Anne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston.  Determined to make it back to New York, Anne could care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate, Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school.  When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it.  With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder.
  • Oracle of Delphi: Prophecy of the Most Beautiful by Diantha Jones
    • She has a destiny so great that even the gods fear her.

      Constant hallucinations and the frequent conversations with the voices in her head, have earned eighteen-year-old Chloe Clever the not-so-coveted title of "Whack Job" in her home town of Adel, Georgia. With the onslaught of prescription medications and therapists threatening to push her over the edge, she wishes for a life far away from the one she has, a life where she is destined to be more than the butt of everyone's jokes and mockery.

      Be careful what you wish for has never rung more true.

      After living through an attack from her worst nightmare, she awakens to find herself far from home, surrounded by glorious riches and servants…and a few demigods who enjoy killing things. Upon learning that her favorite rockstar is an Olympian god, she is thrust into her new life as the Oracle of Delphi, the prophesier of the future, and the great Pythia that the gods have been anxiously awaiting to arrive for centuries. Setting out to fulfill the prophecy she has been given and to keep her family safe from a demigod Princess that wants her dead, Chloe learns of how great she is to become, all the while fighting mythical monsters, evading divine assassins and trying to outwit the ever-cunning Greek gods who harbor secrets of their own. In the hopes of discovering the Most Beautiful and the truth of her destiny, she strives to uncover the mysteries of the demigod Prince who has sworn to protect her with his life…and threatens to win her heart in the process.

  • Even In Darkness by Cyndi Tefft
    • I thought it was over, that all our troubles were behind us.

      We had a fairytale castle wedding surrounded by family and friends. Aiden wore a dress kilt, looking so handsome it made my heart squeeze, and I floated on air in a white version of the ball gown he’d cast for me in Versailles. Flower girl, ring bearer, Scottish ceilidh afterward—check, check, and check. It was perfect.

      We were supposed to live happily ever after.

      But that was before I walked in to find another woman in his bed, a demon with blood red eyes who’d disguised herself as me in order to get what she wanted most: a child from a heaven transporter.

      And it was in that moment—watching my entire world crumble to the ground—that I knew.

      This was not over. Not by a long shot.

  • After Tuesday by Renee Ericson
    • Family really is a pain…especially when your father is an addict.

      For the last two years, high school senior Ruby has been her own rock and solace. She has learned to depend only on herself and hides her family's issues by keeping herself somewhat unnoticeable. Despite her isolation, Ruby has intrigued the affections of someone unexpected. She finds herself loving life once again as his persistence sparks a romance awakening a well-protected heart.

      While Ruby’s relationship with her father is constantly teetering, her new-found affection continues to blossom into something more than she ever thought possible. Soon, Ruby comes to realize that opening up your heart means being susceptible to love and disappointment.

  • Kaleidoscope by Mindy Hayes
    • “Was I still a human? Gosh, I still wanted to be human. Even just to keep a sliver of whom I thought I was. But as I thought about being human, standing in the shade of the forest, I felt less human than ever. The trees fought for my allegiance."

      It starts in her chest. The change Calliope doesn't see coming. It pulses like a second heartbeat, urging her to give in to the need to be in the depths of the forest. She's compelled to fight the pull, but the more she denies it the stronger it becomes until she finally surrenders and is pulled into a secret world of enchantment.

      Kai and Declan need her to accept what she is, but with everything left unsaid, acceptance may be the least of their worries. Knowing their fate lies in her hands, they’ll stop at nothing to protect and prepare her for what lies ahead.

      Will Calliope be able to accept what Kai and Declan reveal or will her desire to be normal keep her from acknowledging her true destiny?

  • Elizabeth the First Wife by Lian Dolan
    • Elizabeth Lancaster, an English professor at Pasadena City College, finds her perfectly dull but perfectly orchestrated life upended one summer by three men: her movie-star ex-husband, a charming political operative, and William Shakespeare. Until now, she’d been content living in the shadow of her high-profile and highly accomplished family. Then her college boyfriend and one-time husband of seventeen months, A-list action star FX Fahey, shows up with a job offer that she can’t resist, and Elizabeth’s life suddenly gets a whole lot more interesting. She’s off to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the summer to make sure FX doesn’t humiliate himself in an avant-garde production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

These books are all over the place which is awesome because they all tickled my fancy in a different way. I look forward to reading them and sharing my thoughts. Click here to read some of my other reviews and I'll see you on Friday with...something about writing.

Be dark, be naughty, be wrong!

Until next time.

Monday 24 June 2013

Undercover Lovers #23: Normal

This is the last in the Undercover Lovers series *gasp*

I know you're all deeply disappointed to see it go but I'll find something to fill the void. Eventually. I actually don't know what to do. I have two more fan fics that I'm planning to write in the month of July so I might post those here but I'd prefer to start focusing this blog.

Originally the themes of this blog were sex and death and how they play into writing fiction. We haven't really done that. Now that doesn't mean I'm going to stop doing reviews, guests posts and blog tours for books that are outside of the genre but I'm definitely going to try and get more focus. Do more stuff like Forensic Fridays and post more of my writing and not just fan fiction.

On top of that I have a giant pile of books that I was supposed to read and I just haven't gotten around to so I'm hoping to do more reviews in the coming months. Lots of fantasy and new adult.

I'm still learning what things work for me as a writer and as a person - I always will be - and I'm so glad that I have you guys to support me. So thanks.

Here's to a never-ending flow of words.

This is totally how I plot stories. 'cept I'm not as hot as Stana Katic...or have a window with cool shutters like that...just me. And my wall.

Friday 21 June 2013

How to Write Until It Hurts by Nadia Simonenko

In my time as a blogger, short as it has been, I don't usually talk about the dark stuff. Sure I talk about death and destruction but not about the every day stuff that hurts like hell. It's a tough subject to broach and a lot of writers are hesitant to. Not Nadia.
Nadia Simonenko, writer of the New Adult Contemporary Romance Lost  is here to talk about her experiences while writing this modern love story about healing and finding love. 
Sometimes you need someone else to help you find your way.

Maria's life was torn apart when she was fifteen, and for seven years she's kept her terrible secret hidden from the world. Now, in her final semester of college, she still struggles against paralyzing fear just trying to speak up in class, and the terror and helplessness linger on in her nightmares.

Across campus, Owen sees his scars in the mirror every morning while he gets ready for class. They remind him of the broken home he left behind, the father he hates and fears, and the little sister he couldn't protect. Now, in his final semester of college, he's scared that he may have to return to the hell he called home after staying away for almost five years.

When Owen becomes a teaching assistant for one of Maria's classes, they find themselves irresistibly drawn to each other. As the two learn each other's secrets and grow closer, they realize that although they may be lost, they're not alone anymore.

Available on Amazon and B&N

On the planning and writing process for Lost
Hello, Nadia here!  Extra-special super-thanks (the kind that gives you wings and magical powers) to Vicki for hosting me today.

For everything I write, the first step in the planning process is to figure out what I want to do. I have several pen names for other genres, and the first step for me has always been to ask, “what do I feel like writing?”

Lost’s answer to that question was “characters that the reader believes are real.

That’s where my usual structured approach breaks down.  Lost breaks every rule I’ve ever tried to follow from there on.  It wrote itself long before I ever put pen to paper.  (Yes, those archaic things still exist, and I still use them when my arms hurt too much from typing.  Stop laughing at me.)

Lost is a very special book to me for reasons beyond simply that “I wrote it.”  It’s also special to me because it’s partially a diary.

Remember my answer to the question up above? Every character in the book is real. They’re all combinations of more than one person, but every single one of them is real.
First step to writing Lost:  Building the characters.  The male lead, Owen, was built from a combination of my husband’s childhood and my own, as well as one other wonderful individual who was willing to talk with us about his life.  His nightmares are mostly real.  His personality is mostly real.  Why did so many readers love him?  Because he’s real.

Maria was harder to write.  I don’t (thank God!) have experience with what she went through, but there was no way on earth I was going to let myself do a disservice to people who have gone through what she has. It was time for research. I found support groups, websites dedicated to her particular type of trauma, and victims who were willing to talk with me about it. She is made up of the stories and lives of several different people, and I don’t even need to say “mostly real” about her nightmares. They’re real. 

There must be more to a pair of characters than just trauma. People may let that define their lives, but there’s always more to them than that. The last step to the character design was to give each of them a little more than just their nightmares.

Personally, I’m very proud of these two characters. How can I not be? One of them is basically my husband. I’m very happy that so many readers have liked both of them. Some didn’t, of course, but that’s par for the course with any book.

Second step to writing Lost:  Bring the characters together.  Where are they, and how did they meet each other? I wanted to write it as a college romance, mainly because that’s when things turned around for my husband and me. We hadn’t met each other yet, but we were finally coming into our own so to speak. Owen and Maria meet in college, and from there it’s just trying to write realistic interactions. I understood one side of the relationships coming into it and had plenty of memories to work with for my time in college, and thanks to the people willing to talk to me about Maria’s side of the picture, I was able to put together realistic actions for her as well. At least, I hope I did. I certainly tried.

Third step to writing Lost:  Hurting myself until it worked.  Not a step that you usually see in a writer’s development process, is it? In short, if what I was writing didn’t bother me, I wasn’t doing a good enough job. If you want to know what I mean, go read the first chapter and get back to me after that.  That is what I was going for.  Some people might argue that trying to hurt your readers isn’t the best business decision, but I didn’t agree.  Lost may be a contemporary romance, but it is a dark romance built from real people’s lives.  If I made it easier for people—if I didn’t let them see the full extent of the stories behind the characters—I would be doing the original Owens and Marias a horrible disservice.

If it didn’t hurt me to read a chapter when I was done with that, I went back into my own memories and into those of the wonderful people who are willing to open up to me, and I tried my best to both understand and feel them until I could do them justice.
Thanks for taking the time to read my guest post. I certainly hope that you give Lost a shot. It’s not an easy read by any means, but I think you just might like it.

-Nadia Simonenko
About the Author:

Nadia Simonenko is a scientist and author currently living in Indianapolis with her husband, two cats and a dog. When she isn't writing, she develops new oncolytic compounds and dreams about someday getting to take a vacation.

Want to connect with her? E-mail her or contact her at any of the sites below!

Website | Twitter | Facebook
Sign up for her mailing list to get all sorts of freebies, coupons and previews of all her latest books. Her mailing list is awesome and smells like roses, you know. It may not come with a free puppy, but it certainly has adorable puppy-dog eyes and a pink nose.

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Wednesday 19 June 2013

Why All Writers Should Be Drama Geeks

I grew up in the performing arts. I started dancing when I was five, I started singing when I was eight; I took drama classes from grades 6-12 – I still do a little bit of everything. In all honesty, those were probably the greatest writing classes of my life.

Dancing and acting especially taught me that there is a story in every movement, every breath that you take. Singing is about expressing emotion and telling a story through words in an ‘unconventional’ manner. You read texts and you do research to understand this character that you embody for a few moments. Sometimes you get frustrated and you want to give up but then you get back into it and remember why you love it. Why you love sharing a little bit of yourself with the entire world because no one else can express yourself the way you do. Every story is unique no matter how many times it’s been told.

No matter how many times you learn that step it’ll be different each time just like each scene that some Shakespeare student is performing has never been performed the same way twice by anyone in the world. Every voice is unique and tells the story and sings the note in a different manner. Every story that you write is brand new because you have never told it. You’ll use different words and you’ll read different things when you research and discover the characters that will be dear to your heart forever.

As a writer you need to know your character but as a performer you have to be your character. Every decision your character makes is justified by a previous action that sometimes only you understand. You know exactly why they walk over the cracks in the sidewalk or why they always look under the bed before falling asleep every night. You know exactly where they are. You’re both director and actor. As a writer you describe the world around you but as a performer you create the world around you.

As a performer, you create a world based on choices and a character created by someone else. As a writer you are that someone else. You are the director, actor, producer and greatest fan of your play; never forget that.

Sing like no one is listening,

Dance like no one is watching

Writer like no one will read it

Monday 17 June 2013

Undercover Lovers #22: Old and Grey

This is so disgustingly last minute. I apologize. I just didn't manage to write it this weekend and so write it...just now. This is the ultimate unedited version of a prompt sent to me by a friend who wanted to see Kate and Rick pretending to be old people. At first I struggled with a plausible explanation and then decided "screw plausible let's do this" and this is what you get.

JuNoWriMo is more than half way over and I'm still stuck at 4,000 just from sheer lack of trying and inability to get organized. I've finally come to the conclusion that writing contests like this are not for me. I don't do well with deadlines. My life is not a race and I should be able to write and enjoy the story however fast or slow it comes to me.

But anyways, enough of that. I have one more Undercover Lover planned and then we're done. I honestly have no idea what I'm doing for posts in July and August but I'll figure it out and you'll continue to be entertained by my random antics. Right?

Friday 14 June 2013

Forensic Fridays Part 4: Asphyxiation

Here is part 4 of the Forensic series. We're going to start getting into different methods of killing and what they look like on a corpse. Because it fits in with the novel I'm currently writing (slowly), we're going to start with Asphyxiation.

You can read the first three parts here:

Wednesday 12 June 2013

JuNoWriMo Featured Writer

I was featured on the JuNoWriMo blog this morning I got to talk about Morbid Curiosity where I was back in May. I even said that I might need a slap upside the head and this is it. No more stalling. Just words. Deal?

I was walking around campus one day last year, just people watching, when I stumbled across a dark corner behind a building that everyone walked passed and no one really noticed. Naturally my first thought was “you could murder someone back here quite easily.” It then turned into a game to find all the dark corners in the university campus. There were a lot. And it often required a bit of creativity. After that, I started seeing opportunities to write murder scenes – I emphasizewrite so no one thinks I’m a homicidal manic…yet.

Monday 10 June 2013

Undercover Lovers #21: Let's Just F*** It Out

So this was supposed to be a sex scene (it IS the third week) but I just couldn't do it so it's an...almost sex scene. I'm just glad that I managed to write 1.5K for this scene. I've been having problems writing in order when it comes to Morbid Curiosity so I'm going to try writing the scenes that come to me rather than the next sequence. See if  it helps the flow. I just hate introducing characters, it's one of my least favourite parts of writing. And maybe that's come from too much fan fiction writing but I'm not about to worry about it while I'm in the midst of a writing program that's more about the word count than the content. I just need to get words on paper.

And if some of you aren't following the @JuNoWriMo handle on twitter, you really should because four times a week I host Writing Sprints and there are, I think, nine other writers who host sprints. It's lots of fun.

Well anyways, let's just get to the scene. See? Impatient.

Friday 7 June 2013

Making Your Presence Known: A Guest Post by Stacey O'Neale

We're talking about social media today here at WoW (maybe I should think of another acronym...) and of course when it came time to talk about social media I thought who better than Stacey O'Neale should be the one to talk about the ever-terrifying notion of putting yourself out there in the virtual world.

Back in the days before internet and blogging, authors could exist in their writing caves and only be forced to leave for an occasional bookstore appearance. Nowadays, writers are expected to play a major role in the publicity of their books. Even traditionally published authors have websites, twitter, goodreads, and facebook pages.

In regards to social media, the most important fact to remember is: everyone is watching. With that in mind, you want to be conscience of what you're putting out there into the world. Thanks to social media, every image and 140 character thought you have is now on display. You will be judged, so you need to decide what type of image you want your potential audience to see. You've heard the term, image is everything. Well, it's as true in publishing as it is anywhere else in life. And, if you want to be taken seriously, you have to keep this in mind in all your social media interactions. But, it's not all boring. You want your potential readers to get to know you. I always ask my clients to be professional, but have fun with it too. It's not all about marketing. People participating in social media are there because they want to make a personal connection. You have to find a balance you're comfortable with. Here's a few hints to get you started.

Things you SHOULD do:

  • Use professional pictures on your social media outlets.
  • Create a website, facebook, twitter, and goodreads page.
  • Be active on your social media pages.
  • Interact with readers and let them get to know you.
  • Have fun!!! J

Thing you SHOULD NOT do:

  • React to negative reviews.
  • Talk poorly about the publishing industry.
  • Share your political or religious views unless you wrote a book about them.
  • Post buy links to your books. This is the easiest way to get unfollowed/blocked on any social media outlet.

Stacey O’Neale is a freelance writer, publicist, and book blogger. She has participated in panels at Book Expo America, Virginia Festival of the Book, and the Frederick Book Festival. In addition, she teaches social media and publicity courses through Savvy Authors and the Romance Writers Association.

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Frantic last minute posts are the best

Crap, I didn't forget that it was Wednesday and I owed you a post because that would be bad and irresponsible.

Okay yeah I forgot. But I have a really good excuse....

I was writing!

That thing that I keep saying I should do but never do. Yeah I wrote words today. Quadruple digits baby!

So I feel good about today. And that's really all I have to update you on anyways. I'm just chilling and writing and doing life plan stuff. Being a teenager *GASP* and just going through the day feeling  pretty awesome.

How have you guys been? I feel like we haven't checked in with each other in a while. Let me know what's going on with you guys. I miss you.

Monday 3 June 2013

Undercover Lovers #20: Emergency Rooms

Ah, Monday, the day for fresh starts. JuNoWriMo started this weekend and frankly it did not go well at all. I spent the entire weekend out in the real world and only wrote just over 900 words in total. So yes I'm behind but I have the rest of the month to catch up and now that I have a relative outline to work from, Morbid Curiosity might actually become a reality. I'm not counting these stories towards my word count unless I feel I really need to. For me, I want all 50k to go towards this story that I want to tell. These are like warm-ups or something.

Saturday 1 June 2013

40 Writing Links to Get You Through JuNoWriMo

This is it, ladies and gentlemen. Crunch time. JuNoWriMo officially starts today as does our decent into madness. To celebrate I've got a bunch of links from my blog from the past nine months all with writing advice from, experts, amateurs and myself. Ready?

One Writer's Plotting Habits
Act One
Act Two
Act Three
Pantsing vs. Plotting
How To Be a Productive Writer
Different Writing Challenges (other than NaNoWriMo)
Why NaNoWriMo is Awesome

Ultimate Character Sheet
Minor Characters
Characters Based on Historical Fact

Scene Structure
Importance of Backstory
Mood Writing
Murder and Death
Fiction Based on Fact
Why Books Should Be Like Movies
World Building
What You Can Learn From Television

New Adult
Sex in New Adult
Defining Fantasy
More Fantasy
Contemporary Horror

Judith Saunders
Diana Gabaldon
Aryea Hunt
DelSheree Gladden
Lilly M. Love
Jaycee De Lorenzo
Cyndi Tefft

Dos and Don'ts of PR
How Books Are Published

And there you have it: 40 links on writing, publishing and plotting. Hopefully this helps you get through your writing journey. I'll maybe add more as I get more guest posts (I have one from Stacey ONeale coming up soon) so we'll see what happens.

In the mean time: HAPPY WRITING!