Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thursdays Children...Inspired by Meeting Other Writers

I'm late for Thursday's Children, an awesome bloghop about inspiration hosted by Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez. Still, I figured better late than never. If you are looking for some great ways to get inspired, make sure to check out the bloghop, the link is at the bottom of the page. 

So, this month I finally did something I've been meaning to do for awhile. I started my own Writers group/Critique group on Meet-Up. Com. I held my first  meeting tonight and people actually showed up. Yay! We had a turn-out of six people and everyone seemed really cool. We have a variety of different writing styles, and a mix of experienced writers and novice writers, so it seems like it will be interesting to see how everyone comes together. 

I'm normally pretty introverted, so putting myself in charge and making sure I met
other writers was a pretty big step for me, but one I'm glad I took. I really hope the group works out because knowing we are meeting every other week will keep me on track with my writing while also giving me something to look forward to. 

Talking to you guys online is great, but it's also fun to get to actually talk writing face to face. How about you guys? Do you have writer friends? Do any of you belong to critique groups? How is the group run? Do you do writing exercises or just critique for one another or talk about different topics? Any ideas for me on how to keep things interesting? 

If you are interested in joining the bloghop click HERE

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Teaser Tuesday...


Make sure you check out her site if you want some great book recommendations. In the meantime, if you want to play along just:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers

My tease this week is from a book I just finished and really loved. I thought it was going to just be a cute romance, but it had a lot of depth and emotion. I also loved that the two MC's were definitely not your standard gorgeous YA couple. They were normal kids who fell in love because they saw the beauty in each other. A great book I'd highly recommend!

"Your the smartest girl I've ever met, and the funniest, and everything you do surprises me and I wish I could say that those are the reasons I like you, because that would make me sound like a really evolved human being...But I think it's got as much to do with your hair being red and your hands being soft...and the fact that you smell like homemade birthday cake."

Monday, June 24, 2013

Out On Submission…Again!

So my agent sent me the new list of editors we’ll be submitting to today. I’m excited and hopeful. The last round obviously didn’t get me a sale, but I can’t say I was crushed by the passes either. The general consensus was that I had strong writing and voice, but the concept was similar to something on their list—and there isn’t one vampire, werewolf, fallen angel or fairy in my novel. Imagine that-lol! So here’s to hoping this next round of editors don’t have a similar concept already on their list.

Wish me Luck!

Karen @>~>~

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Maggie Stiefvater ARC Contest...

So, I entered an ARC contest this week to try to win a copy of The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. I didn't win, which wasn't surprising considering the HUGE amounts of talent and creativity out there. However, it was a super fun art contest where you could paint, draw, sculpt, film, sing or do anything creative to show your love of the book. I wish more writers would do contests like this!! The winning entries were SO cool. One person made a video, the other (my fave) made a truly amazing board game. If any of you guys are fans of Maggie, or love the book The Raven Boys, you need to check out the winners HERE. 

And, even though I didn't win, I wanted to share my entry with you
guys. It was a lot of fun to get to express my love of the book and characters. The link to my entry is HERE and, if you want to read about some of the processes I used to create it, the blog I wrote to go with the entry is below--but I'm omitting all the parts that might be spoilery in case you haven't read the book. Hope you guys like it! 

Have any of you ever entered a contest like this, or created something about your favorite book? What was it? 


This is my entry for Maggie Stiefvater’s ARC contest. First of all, I’d like to say that Maggie is my hero. Every time I think she can’t get any better, she does. LOVE The Raven Boys!  In the interest of keeping this short, I’ll stop gushing now and tell you a little about my entry…
To start, I’d like to point out the blue and red swirls on the raven that’s perched in the tree. I tried to make the raven look similar to the cover of the book. (Actually, I was quite sad to realize that, in the video, you can’t tell that the raven’s chest is red. You’ll just have to trust me on that. haha) The raven was hand-sculpted out of clay, carved with designs and baked. I then paint-washed it to make the red and blue swirls. 
Next we have Gansey’s famous orange Camaro—aka “the pig.” Of course, they didn’t have any orange Camaro’s at Target, so I had to get a red one, paint it and add some cool stripes. The road that the car is driving on is a sampling of tarot cards drawn by the different characters during their reading. 
The road of tarot cards leads to the tomb of the King of Glendower. The King and his tomb are both hand-sculpted and paint-washed brown to age them.Next is Noah. DESCRIPTION OF NOAH DELETED IN THE INTEREST OF SPOILERS.
After him we come to Gansey sitting on top of his  journal, which was painstakingly put together by cutting and gluing together an old writing journal of mine.  I wish I had a better picture of the different papers sticking out the side, but I was running out of time so I was forced to use a not-so-great picture to get this in by the dead line.(my stupid computer kept crashing) DETAILS ABOUT GANSEY OMITTED
By the middle of the road is Adam. I  tried to capture the fragility of his “pretty” looks.I also tried to make him look very put together. If you look closely, you can see the  raven on Adam’s pocket. He’s standing on a sculpted pentacle. Next is Ronan, leaning against the tree looking irritable  Ronan is also in his school clothes, although I did my best to make them look as disreputable as possible. haha. 
Just as a few final details.All the characters have a black feather somewhere around them. There is also a large, but subtle, ley-line symbol.
After I finally finished, my husband (who also loved the book) took hours and hours learning how to work Sony Vegas Pro-12—a software editing program so he could zoom in and out and across the canvas and do other cool stuff I don’t really understand. Plus he added music. He contributed at least six or seven hours to this project because he thought a video would be way cooler than just a photo. He is awesome, so I needed to give him his props.
 I worked on this every day this week—it probably ended up taking about thirty to forty hours if I include my husbands time. Obviously it was worth it because even if I don’t win (which I don’t expect to, having seen the crazy amount of talent in the other entries) I had a ton of fun. I also have a cool reminder of the Raven Boys to hang on my bedroom wall AND my husband knows a new software program. haha
In ending, I’d like to say that The Raven Boys is one of the only books I’ve ever read that  left me like I had a hole inside me that I didn’t know how to fill once  the book was finished. I mean it. I was depressed for like two days because I missed Blue and her boys. So thanks for such great characters and all the hours of joy! Also, huge thanks for hosting such a great contest!! Hope you like my entry!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tapping Into My Inner Boy

I’ve been doing a rewrite of the first YA novel I wrote. While the pov is split between a few characters, the majority of the story is told in the pov of a 17-year-old boy. Not only do I need to have the narrative sound distinctive between characters, but I also need this boy to sound like a boy. I can tap into his mannerisms and I think I’ve got the dialogue down, but I’ve read books that still sound like a woman wrote them when it’s a male character and vice versa.

What I’ve been doing is reading, and sometimes rereading, books with male leads. Some written by men, some written by women.
-The Unwind series by Neil Shusterman.
-The Furnace series by Alexander Gordon Smith.
-I just finished reading TWISTED by Laura Halse Anderson. Her male character sounded like a male. Never once was I aware that a woman had created Tyler. That’s what I want.
As a teen, I hung around a lot of boys, but that was many moons ago. Still, I’ve been paying close attention to the men in my life just to see how they think, because usually when I become aware that a woman wrote a male character its in the narrative, the boy’s inner thoughts. Hopefully, I can tap into my mc's thoughts and make him  sound like a boy and not a boy written by a woman.

How do you all go about writing characters of the opposite sex?

Karen @~>~

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursdays Children...Inspired by great advice

Time for Thurdays Children again, an awesome bloghop about writerly inspiration hosted by Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez.  

One of the things that always most inspiring is the awesome advice by other writers. Some of my favorite books on writing are: 

Stephen Kings On Writing   Half memoir of the master of horror and half instruction, this book is
packed full of awesome tips. 

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont  This book contains useful instruction on both
writing and life. Not to be missed. 

The Fire in The Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great. The title pretty much says it all! 

What about you guys? What are some of your favorite books on writing. And does ANYONE out there know of any books that aren't for beginners? I'd really love something that talks more about things like themes, moods and internal quests. Although, again, anything not geared towards beginner writers would be awesome! 

If you'd like to join the fun at Thursday's Children, click HERE

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


It's my day to post, but I'm having one of those brain dead days. My plan to deal with this and not feel like a
total let down to my blog partner, Tamara is to spend the day visiting blogs. This is something I try to do regularly, but it doesn't happen as often as I'd like. So, today I hope to make it to your blog!

Talk to you soon, 


Monday, June 10, 2013

Writing Rules

So I read a lot, as most writers do, and I find that sometimes I’ll read as a writer and not as a reader. What I mean by that is sometimes I see all the things I was told NOT to do as an aspiring author right there on the page in front of me.

“If you want to be a great writer and get published you shouldn’t…”

…use passive sentences.
…overuse adjectives.
…overuse exclamations marks.
…have a first chapter where nothing happens.
…tell rather than show.
…overuse adverbs especially those ending in ly.

And on and on.

Yet I read book after published book filled with these things I’ve been told never to do if I want to get published, if I want to be a great writer. I think these are all good rules and I understand the need for them because when I read a book riddled with passive sentences I want to rewrite that sentence, but are these rules not for everyone? What I mean is are these rules pounded into the heads of burgeoning writers because we may have a tendency to fill our books with passive sentences, hundreds of adjective and adverbs ending in ly, and put an exclamation mark on every sentence that has a slightly higher degree of emotion? Or is it that if your story is good enough, entertaining enough, mind-blowing enough that no one is going to notice that you told us half of your story rather than showed it to us?

I have to say, one of my recent favorite books, an award winning, New York Times Bestselling novel, was mostly telling. A couple hundred of the nearly 800 pages could’ve been shaved off and I wouldn’t have missed it. Yet I loved the story that was TOLD to me, mostly through passive sentences.

So what’s a girl to do? Personally, I don’t like passive sentences so whenever I see them in my own writing I correct where I can—just not on here, of course-lol. I try to make sure that I’m following the rules above, but mostly, I try to tell a good story. Because when I really asked myself which would I rather read, a meh story that is technically, textbook perfect, or a story that didn’t abide by most or any of the rules but had me enthralled? I’ll take enthralled any day of the week!

What do you think? Have you seen a lot of these don’ts in books you’ve read recently? 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thursdays Children...Inspired by work

Thursdays Children, hosted by: Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez.

This week I feel inspired by the simple act of working. I've been busy with a lot of other things. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing. And, for some reason, the more days I spend away from my desk, the easier it becomes to stay away. There are always a million other things to do and the act of writing starts to seem more difficult than it is.

I find myself dreading scenes that need to be reworked. But, once I make myself get to it, I'm always surprised by the simple joy of it. I don't know how I forget that in between. I guess because there are certain issues with my current book that I feel I can't overcome (wordcount. ugh). Sometimes that seems a little overwhelming but I know if I just take it step by step, sooner or later I'll figure it out.

And, in the end, I know the most important thing to do is just keep working at it. So that's what I'm doing this week...I'm being inspired by work. :) How about you guys? Do you get lazy with the writing sometimes? What inspires you?

If you'd like to join the list for Thursdays Children, click HERE

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Teaser Tuesday...


Make sure you check out her site if you want some great book recommendations. In the meantime, if you want to play along just:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My tease for this week is from an absolutely adorable book. If you are looking for a light, fun, feel-good romance, I'd highly recommend The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller. I'm not going to lie, the premise struck me as totally unbelievable when I read the back but the story is so damn cute and appealing that it sucked me in anyway. And who knows? I suppose a popular girl could be embarrassed to be a comic-book-loving"nerd." At any rate, I had just gotten done reading a bunch of heavy, make-you-think-and-cry books and this was exactly what I needed. It was refreshing to read a fluffy YA book about a girl whose biggest problem is that she desperately wants to kiss the swoon-worthy and charmingly-awkward dork who works at her favorite comic-book store. (Plus she has both parents and neither are alcoholics or control freaks!) haha. I guarantee you won't get through this book without smiling!

His fingertips touching the side of my neck are the only thing I feel as the dice are totaled behind me. The creases between his eyebrows disappear as the smile that struck me as irresistible the first time I saw it in The Phoenix appears. 

Monday, June 3, 2013


So lately I’ve been watching episodes of Bones. Early in the series they really made a big deal about the main character, Temperance Bennan, being a mystery writer—a New York Times bestselling, mystery writer. So one episode she mentions that her publisher gave her a sports car as a bonus. Another time the publisher gave her a Rolex.


I remember years ago when I first saw this I wondered if it really happened. I went so far as to ask literary agent Kate Testerman, aka, “Daphne” if any of her clients had received these kinds of perks. Basically she said no. Any “perks” or gifts for her authors should be given in the form of money. *my thoughts exactly*

But this still puzzles me. Bones is based off of novels by Kathy Reichs. She is also executive producer of the show. Could she not have said, “No, no guys, that’s not how it works.” Not to mention, literary agents are NOTHING like agents for actors. Yet each time I see a literary agent portrayed on screen they are these fast talking, Armani suit wearing, Ferrari driving jerks.

I don’t know, maybe these things are minor in the grand scheme of the plot, but it really bugs me. So my question is for all of you published authors. Have you ever received a “perk” from your publisher? Car, house, watch, boat? Or do you know someone who has? Inquiring minds want to know…