Saturday, May 28, 2011

Made of Awesome Contest

Shelley Watters is at it again and this time she has the awesome Judith Engracia of Liza Dawson and Associates! Judging a first page contest.

So Here's the opportunity for me to share the first page of UNDISTURBED with you all. Hope you like it.

Genre: YA Paranormal
Word Count: 78,000

I never believed I was safe. No one at Weller Prep with the exception of Bobby Vincent was, until today. I tapped on the door with my elbow, my hands too sore to bend, and unclenched my jaw as his mother approached the door. “Good morning, Mrs. Vincent.”

“Deyan, long time no see. Come in,” she said, opening the door. “Well aren’t you cute with your little gloves.”

“Thank you. I was hoping to catch Bobby before he left for school. Is he still here?” Of course he is, his truck is parked outside. He was lucky I liked his mother too much to slash his tires. After six years of his pranks, there was no telling what I might do, especially since I had skipped my meds.

“Let me check,” she said, looking up at the large staircase. “Bobby? Deyan’s here to see you.”

My phone buzzed for the thirty-second time. His jokes were one thing, but posting my phone number online was going too far. He knew I would be looking for him after receiving his list. He hadn’t replied to any of my texts. Granted they contained some of the most offensive f-bomb mash-ups my best friend, Nikki, could conjure up.

“Bobby, did you hear me?” she asked.

“Tell her I’m in the shower,” he yelled.

He was such an idiot. Like I didn’t know he was lying, our houses had the same layout; we even shared a back fence.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think :o)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

YA Critique Group Members Wanted (Paranormal/Urban Fantasy/ Contemporary)

So I've been thinking of forming a critique group for a while now, but edits for UNDISTURBED required my full attention and I didn't want to commit to something I couldn't follow through. Well I'm now embarking on new projects that won't reach the editing stage until late in the fall and I'd like to really develop a network of writers actively pursuing publication.

I know that sounds like every writer out there, but there is a clear difference in writing based on trends and creating something truly unique.

I live for unique. Stories that no one has every heard of. Romances that haven't been explored, and characters that defy the stereotypes. These are the type of stories I write and they are also the types of stories I would love to read and would be pleased to critique.

My goal for a critique group is creating an environment that is nurturing, supportive, and honest. I'd love to find critique partners who are fans of each other's stories and want to help each other succeed.

Everyone is good at something, but I'd love to develop a group who share the desire to hone their craft by reading published works and books about writing. I have an extensive library and would be more than happy to share.

All in all I'm looking for a support/critique group. The writing process is rough, time consuming, and often a lonely one. My husband and my friends don't understand my squeals about characters that don't exist outside of my head. They don't know the publishing process and what it takes. It would be nice to have a group to go to who understand what it's like to be one unknown writer in a genre millions are trying to break in everyday.

Well that's my pitch. If you're looking for a similar group please comment with your email address or fill out a contact form on: and we can see if we would be a good match.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Revision Tip: Lending your memories to your characters

I've been hard at work revising UNDISTURBED and one thing that has really helped me is to tap into my memory bank and add those emotions to my story.

I practiced this during the Writer's Digest Conference this fall and it worked so well that I find myself asking: "How would i feel if this were me?"

It's hard to be honest when it comes to writing fiction. We're writing to entertain and inspire and at times our message or purpose can get lost in all those eloquent words. If you want your readers to connect with your characters you have to give them reason to. It also means that you might have to share some very personal feelings.

It's hard describing emotions. These are things we feel that have no tell tell signs. I've found the most honest and simply stated lines of my story are the one's that my readers connect with the most. If I could I would fill the entire novel with them.

As an author we have a direct link to our characters. We know what they're feeling and thinking before they do. It can be hard to pull back and survey your story with blind eyes, which is why BETA READERS are so important. They know nothing about your story so when they make a note that says "I feel like I don't know this character." or "What's the character thinking?" These are signals that you've been keeping the emotional content to yourself.

Don't just bypass these comments thinking your Beta Readers "don't get it." or "They skimmed instead of reading it." I know when I beta read I am even more critical than I would just reading a book, because that's what I expect from my readers.

Filling in the holes in your story can only make it better. No one has ever complained that a book was filled with too much emotion.

When you can't use your own memories. For example if a character has a stalker or they've been abducted and you have no knowledge of that, access a time when you were afraid for your life or extremely paranoid (lol). We've all been there. Walking home after dark, looking over our shoulder every few seconds. Eyeing every person on the street as we pray they just keep walking.

Teens may not talk or interact the way I did, but just like there are no new stories there are no new emotions. The heart break, fear, and angst they feel is just like our own. We just have to access it and lend it to our characters.

How about you, what tricks do you use to create emotional depth?

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Last Edit (Also the hardest)

So I'm half way through my last edit of UNDISTURBED before submissions and this round is a lot more intense. Having already completed the plot, grammar, dialogue, and continuity edits, this last round is more of a punch up.

  • Sharping dialogue

  • Making scenes more memorable

  • Heightening emotional content

This is the polishing phase of the writing and it means that there are no glance overs or "it'll do" every scene has to be perfect and every kiss has to be filled with heart tugging passion.

I also find in this version that there is no time for wallowing. In previous edits I admit I had my pity parties and worried if I even have what it takes to make my stories great, but now I'm far past that stage. It's "Let's get it done" time. 6 months of editing means I've come too far. To stop now would mean that the last 10 months of my life didn't matter and I'll be damned if that happens.

And it's not like this will be the last version. There are bound to be dozens more once I find an agent and they find a publisher (I say "once" because I am determined rather than hopeful. Wishing for an agent and a book deal is one thing, actively pursuing them is another.)

My goal of this final edit is to address all the area's I've wanted to go back over and suggestions made by my editor. I want this version to be clean and readable.

I want my stories to leave an impression other than "this could have used more editing" and the time it's taken to get here, the beta readers, editors, and query critiques will some day pay off.