Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Writer's Road Recap: Ideas to Words

Here is an abbreviated recap of last week's #WritersRoad chat on getting your idea into words: 

Heather McCorkle  The best way I've found to tackle the block of idea into words is to have a plan, a direction that I know the story is going. #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  I used to hate writing outlines but now I love them. They help me get the idea into words. Never thought I'd say that! #WritersRoad

Lori Prima  to @HeatherMcCorkle I like to sketch out any fragments of scenes or dialogue when I first am working on a new idea #writersroad

TS Tate (Tee)  to @HeatherMcCorkle I actually wrote a new one today. I love them. Make me really think about where I'm going. #writersroad

Heather McCorkle  to @teetate Me too. Outlines help me focus and keep me going when I would otherwise stop. #WritersRoad

TS Tate (Tee)  I the most important factor in getting the job done, is doing the work. Don't let the idea linger, WRITE IT. #writersroad

Matthew Wilbur  I do this weird thing where I write a couple chapters (or more) and if the piece seems to be working, then I outline. #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  to @Nightveil I'd go crazy if I did that because I'd be constantly rewriting it! #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  to @Nightveil Sometimes you just have to get the juices flowing though, so I totally understand. #WritersRoad

Matthew Wilbur  to @HeatherMcCorkle This may be the problem with the current WIP. #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  Research can help motivate me to get words on the paper. It also sparks new chapter ideas & deepens the plot. #WritersRoad

Lori Prima  to @HeatherMcCorkle and  @Nightveil If I don't eventually outline, the plot bunnies get waaaayyy out of hand. #writersroad

Heather McCorkle  Do you ever make up playlists for your novels? Sometimes I've found the right music gets the words flowing. #WritersRoad

TS Tate (Tee)  If you're 'stuck' and can't get past it, try relying on some craft books to help u think abt ur story in a new light...#writersroad

Matthew Wilbur  to @HeatherMcCorkle This is not something I've done. I don't think most of my music is conducive to writing. #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  to @Nightveil LOL! I know the feeling. That's why I go for music that makes me think of the book, like a soundtrack for it. #WritersRoad

TS Tate (Tee)  I would highly recommend 'Plot and Structure' by @jamesscottbell (I know, I always rec that one). #writersroad

Heather McCorkle  What would the soundtrack for your book sound like? Who would the artists be? Those should be your inspiration. #WritersRoad

Ebony McKenna  I need complete silence. I need to hear my character's think. :-) #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  Pictures and art help inspire me. I like to find or take pictures that inspire certain scenes. Helps so much! #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  I often close my eyes to envision a scene, hear my characters dialogue in my head, wierd I know, but it works. #WritersRoad

Matthew Wilbur  I've finally got my head mostly around Scrivener. Still feels odd sometimes, but I'm getting it. #WritersRoad

Matthew Wilbur  to @HeatherMcCorkle The movie in your head. Not all that weird. If you can see it you're doing something right. :) #WritersRoad

Matthew Wilbur  to @HeatherMcCorkle It's a word processing program, but the basic metaphor is working on pieces of the doc rather than the whole. #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  to @Nightveil Sounds like something that would get me jumbled up. I use a table of contents and so I can go easily to chapters. #WritersRoad

Matthew Wilbur  to @teetate  and @HeatherMcCorkle For me it's the "focus on one chapter at a time" aspect. It's quirky but I'm getting used to it. #WritersRoad

Lori Prima  to @HeatherMcCorkle @Nightveil I use it and am a fan. However, I also find myself on many nights using basic word proc pgms #writersroad

Heather McCorkle  to @Nightveil In essence, using a TOC in Word would allow me to work on whatever chapter I wanted & not get lost. #WritersRoad

Brenda Corey Dunne  to @HeatherMcCorkle @Nightveil I've thought about it too, but am a big fan of printing off and separating into chunks. #WritersRoad

Lori Prima  to @HeatherMcCorkle I am right there with you. I sometimes find myself "acting" out the dialogue. #writersroad

Matthew Wilbur  to @teetate @HeatherMcCorkle Essentially. But you can move chapters around and it will eventually compile them and export them... #WritersRoad

TS Tate (Tee)  What are some of the biggest obstacles you face in moving from idea to story? #writersroad

Heather McCorkle  to @teetate I always want that first page to be perfect. It's tough to get inspired for just the right beginning. #WritersRoad

Brenda Corey Dunne  to @HeatherMcCorkle Time. Lots of Time. or Lack thereof @teetate #Writersroad

Matthew Wilbur  to @teetate Where to start. Mid-scene, beginning of scene, end of scene? Where do I place the reader in the beginning? #WritersRoad

Brenda Corey Dunne  to @HeatherMcCorkle And not just time to write. Time to THINK about writing. To prepare mentally. #Writersroad

Heather McCorkle  What helps you get words on the page once you have your idea for your novel? #WritersRoad

Ebony McKenna  Took me ages to fall asleep last night, so chatted to characters who gave me GREAT ideas. #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  to @EbonyMcKenna That's a fantastic idea. I think I may try that tonight. #WritersRoad

Brenda Corey Dunne On the other side, thinking too much can be a hindrance to putting words on the page. :) #WritersRoad

Lori Prima  time and motivation, to be honest. So many competing priorities. I am my worst enemy. #writersroad

Heather McCorkle  to @teetate SO, would I be crazy to work on two books at once? #WritersRoad

TS Tate (Tee)  to @HeatherMcCorkle Well, I'd say complete one draft of one WIP, then on your break from it, work on the second. #writersroad IMHO anyway

Heather McCorkle  to @teetate You're right, I know. It's just so hard with this one burning a hole in my imagination. ;) #WritersRoad

Ebony McKenna  to @teetate @HeatherMcCorkle I do that a bit, so that when I'm in one WIP, I'm in that zone. #writersRoad

TS Tate (Tee)  to @HeatherMcCorkle Well then, instead of cheating on your current WIP, jot down the idea for the second and then wait. #writersroad

Heather McCorkle  to @teetate Fabulous idea. I've been researching and jotting things on characters down already. Perhaps I'll do a loose outline. #WritersRoad

Tracy Clark  to @teetate I'm totally working on multiple things at once! *crazy brain is cray cray* @HeatherMcCorkle #writersroad

Ebony McKenna  I used to jump from one WIP to the next and back, but it was me finding a way to not get it done. #WritersRoad

Ebony McKenna  I get THE BEST ideas for new stories when I'm about 80% done with current WIP. Oh the siren song! #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  to @EbonyMcKenna So true. It's a sure way to halt progress on the other. #WritersRoad

Brenda Corey Dunne to @TracyClark_TLC @teetate @HeatherMcCorkle I think I've got four ms's on the go right now. Need to buckle down and finish one... #WritersRoad

TS Tate (Tee)  to @HeatherMcCorkle I keep a little red notebook w/ me at all times to write down lines, plots, chars, etc. #writersroad

TS Tate (Tee) to @HeatherMcCorkle I also keep one on my bedside table bc my dreams are vivid & slightly insane. #writersroad

Ebony McKenna I end up using the notes app on the phone sometimes, to jot down ideas. #WritersRoad Why don't I keep a notebook on me???

Matthew Wilbur  I think my biggest problem is that I write at work *all the time*, by hand. Don't want to do it when I get home. :/ #WritersRoad

TS Tate (Tee)  Bottom line: Get the idea on page. Make small goals & meet them & never, ever stop doing the work! #writersroad

Tracy Clark  I keep a folder/notebook for each project. Put notes/napkins/random stuff in them so I won't forget. Organization is my goddess.#writersroad

TS Tate (Tee)  First drafts should be ugly. Don't let them hinder you from FINISHING the story. Keep. Writing. #writersroad

Monday, July 29, 2013

Book Review: THREE by Jay Posey

Run, don't walk, or click like you've never clicked before, to get this novel. Well okay, wait, first read on to make sure it's for you.

          Amazon / B&N 
A book does not easily earn five stars from me. It has to be blow-me-away fantastic, and this book was definitely that. THREE by Jay Posey is a sci-fi/dystopian novel that must not be missed.

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. This is one of the most forward-thinking novels I've read in a long time. It kept me desperately guessing, almost painfully curious, as it slowly revealed its marvels. Three's is a dystopian world like none other, and Three himself is one of the most intriguing characters I've come across, with a depth that many lack now days. More science fiction than dystopian (fantasy), this novel delivers a shocking view of what could be. It's more than a must read, it's a must recommend. I will buy this in hardback for my collection of outstanding books if it is available.

I would recommend this for fans of science fiction and/or dystopian who can handle a bit of violence and like a lot of action mixed in with their world building and character development. If you're squeamish about violence, then this may not be for you.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review. I was not paid for this review. And you will be jealous that I got to read it first.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Writer's Road ReCap: Problem Solving 7/22

An abbreviated recap of the frist Writer's Road chat on problem solving in which our chatters are invited to bring their writing or publishing related problems for open discussion (the Writer's Road chat occurs every Monday at 6pm PT using on Twitter using Tweetchat with the hashtag #WritersRoad):

Kurt Bali  Motivation. Writing when the spirit's down. RT @teetate: So who among us has a writing issue they need help with? Let us know! #writersroad

Heather McCorkle  @KurtBali Lack of motivation, a huge problem for many! Brainstorming with friends always words great for me. #WritersRoad

TS Tate (Tee)  to @KurtBali I'm sure others will have something to say on this, but for me the only answer is butt in the chair & do it #writersroad

Krissi Dallas  to @teetate Yes. Butt. Chair. WRITE. I've learned if I'm stuck for long, there's a major issue in the story that needs resolving! #writersroad

TS Tate (Tee)  a bit like deciding if you want to marry writing or fool around w/ it. If you want to marry it, then it requires commitment #writersroad

Ebony McKenna  to @KurtBali and @teetate Early mornings work best for me. But not too early! #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  One music artist in particular has been so inspiring for me, I'm going to mention them in the acknowlegments. Can work wonders. #WritersRoad

denisejaden  Love this topic! I love having friendly word/page-count competitions for motivation. #writersroad

J B Mills  to @teetate I'm like the cheater who keeps cheating to find the younger and prettier MS. #pathetic #writersroad

J B Mills  to @HeatherMcCorkle Do you do passes for different things? #writersroad

Heather McCorkle  to @jbeemills Absolutely. I start with structure, plot holes, and such. Then character arcs, story arc, then grammar. #WritersRoad

TS Tate (Tee)  to @KurtBali It's hard for me to keep motivated when the temptation of the Internets, etc is there. So I disconnect the wifi #writersroad

Heather McCorkle  Another great idea for motivation can be listening to conversations, people watching and such. #WritersRoad

Ebony McKenna  I plot things out. Like this #WritersRoad pic.twitter.com/c4ttTHwcbm

J B Mills  I feel like writing is making a big spaghetti dinner and revising is doing the dishes and peeling noodles off the ceiling. #writersroad

Of The Wilds  to @EbonyMcKenna Even my ideas for endings I plot out rarely make it in. Story always changes course, and new endings are born. #writersroad

Heather McCorkle  to @OfTheWilds Love that. The natural, organic part of allowing your story to grow can be the most fantastic part of the process. #WritersRoad

TS Tate (Tee)  to @EbonyMcKenna This just happened to me. Had to revamp 100+ pages bc a secondary char became central. pffft #writersroad

Amber Forbes  I just use notebooks to plan out my chapters on detail. Often avoids plot holes. #writersroad

TS Tate (Tee)  Make your characters have unique ways of speaking. No two characters should sound exactly alike. #writersroad

Amber Forbes  Make sure something happens in every chapter, some kind of development. #writersroad

theakpal  #WritersRoad My transitions are killing me. Currently having trouble getting between scenes-of-value organically/smoothly.

S Tate (Tee)  Ask yourself these questions: 1. When readers read my novels, I want them to feel... #writersroad

TS Tate (Tee)  2. What is it about the lead character in your fav novel that captures you? #writersroad

Heather McCorkle   to @theakpal Just remember, every scene has value of some kind or it doesn't belong. It must move the story or character forward. #WritersRoad

Ebony McKenna  I bought Goal, Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon, it's finally on Kindle. I LOVE HER! #writersroad

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Home Base

At long last, I have a website! I've been flitting around the internet homeless for so long that I've gotten used to the whole free spirit thing. But it has its disadvantages and I finally caved and created a site that I can call home. It's a place for news, updates, and of course anything and everything about my books, without all the other fluff. My 'Events' and 'Contact Me', pages have moved there.

I'd love for you to visit me there! Click on this link to check it out. And be sure to go back regularly for news!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

#WritersRoad Recap: Author Branding

An abbreviated recap of the Writer's Road chat on Twitter (using Tweetdeck with the hashtag #WritersRoad) on author branding:

Heather McCorkle  Branding is a mysterious thing to many, though at its core it's quite simple because it is about the 'core' of your writing. #WritersRoad

Allison Duke @HeatherMcCorkle Oh totally. So when we talk branding, is it a marketing thing or something else? #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  to @AllisonDuke A little marketing, a little bit of who you are and what your writing is all about. Basically, know they self. #WritersRoad

TS Tate (Tee)  to @HeatherMcCorkle and @AllisonDuke What do you think is the single most important aspect to branding? #writersroad

Heather McCorkle  Branding doesn't mean you always have to write one genre, or one way. It isn't about that. It's about what moves you deeply. #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  to@teetate Being true to yourself and your writing. #WritersRoad

Allison Duke  to @HeatherMcCorkle So...you are your brand? #writersroad

Heather McCorkle  to @AllisonDuke Exactly! #WritersRoad

Matthew Wilbur  Think of branding as the overall feel of a thing. When you walk in to Macy's it's a different feel from K-Mart. #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  Writers are passionate people. We write because we care deeply about something. That is your brand. #WritersRoad

J B Mills  Branding is creating a persona that people can identify with so they will want to read your work because they associate w/you. #writersroad

TS Tate (Tee)  Having a career as a writer isn't solely about the work, the marketing, etc. It's a combination of all of these. Don't skimp #writersroad

Heather McCorkle  I care deeply about the environment and endangered species, that almost always works its way into my writing somehow. #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  Turns out, it's my brand. Sometimes it's so subtle the reader never notices it. But it's there. #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  What do you care deeply about that works it's way into your writing? Might surprise you. #WritersRoad

J B Mills  When people don't know you, even something as simple as a profile pic can begin to create an impression. #writersroad

Allison Duke  So for me, my spirituality is a huge part of who I am and it leaks into my writing. I couldn't keep it out if I wanted to. #writersroad

Matthew Wilbur Your "brand' can change over time as you change. For most writers this isn't a problem because the fans change, too. #WritersRoad

TS Tate (Tee)  #Branding yourself, your name, your interests, your image will make you more visible and relatable to readers. #writersroad

Heather McCorkle  to @Nightveil Definitely! We are not, nor do we have to be, one trick ponies. #WritersRoad

TS Tate (Tee)  If you can’t clearly communicate your purpose, then how can you engage a readership? #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  to @teetate Exactly! Books that fail to communicate the author's purpose or underlying theme tend to fall short for me. #WritersRoad

J B Mills  Many authors switch to a pen name when writing a different genre. 2 distinct brands will help them reach 2 different audiences. #writersroad

Heather McCorkle  to @jbeemills Often a great strategy if the genres are vastly different audiences. #WritersRoad

TS Tate (Tee)  Avoid the pigeonhole. Focus the topics you discuss, the audiences you target, the way you describe your work. #WritersRoad

TS Tate (Tee)  Create core messages you will go back to again and again. #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  Branding is something you should be developing before you get published to help you connect to the right audience. #WritersRoad

TS Tate (Tee)  Shape your story as it relates to your work, and share that when you meet people or on the About page of your website. #WritersRoad

Matthew Wilbur  Going back to Gaiman, he's always said he's a storyteller. Not a SF or Fantasy writer but a storyteller. That's his brand. #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  Example: Stephen King's brand is Maine, well that and freaky. #WritersRoad

Allison Duke  So if you've established your brand as a writer and one of your works veers dramatically from it, what happens? #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  to @AllisonDuke Depends, does it have anything of the underlying theme, of your brand in it at all? #WritersRoad

Tina Moss  My brand is dark and quirky. Works w/ my genres and personality. But, difficult combo. Re-designing my blog to reflect this. #writersroad

Tina Moss  to @HeatherMcCorkle Thank you, sweetie. Took a looong time to figure it out. :) #writersroad

Heather McCorkle  to @Tina_Moss Don't feel bad, it took me a while to figure mine out too. #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  Great point brought out by @Tina_Moss. It may take you a while to figure out what your brand is. That's OK. #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  Genre does not define you. Dig deeper. I write about dragons (sometimes) that doesn't make me the dragon lady. #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle  And genre doesn't define your story~completely. What lies beneath does. #WritersRoad

Friday, July 19, 2013

Finally Available in the United States...

I'm beyond excited that Ebony McKenna has finally been able to release The Summer of Shambles in the United States, and with such an amazing cover! Of course I loved the cover her UK publisher Egmont made for her, but this US cover really fits the book quite well. If you haven't read Ebony's books yet, you are in for a treat. It's a hilarious paranormal that's totally unpredictable with quirky characters that you will instantly love.

I haven't had this much fun reading a book in a long time. I literally laughed out loud! If you enjoyed The Princess Bride or Ella Enchanted then this book is one you must read. Dare I say, in many ways I think it even out-shined those. This novel has the perfect mixture of magic, fun, and romance. Ebony made me a fan for life with this book. I'd recommend it for anyone who enjoys quirky characters and unique paranormal, adult and young adult alike. LOVED it!

You can find Ebony at: 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Book Review: Mist by Susan Krinard

I'm a bit ashamed to say that I had no idea who Susan Krinard was, so when I chose this the fact that it boasted she was a NYT Bestseller bore no weight with me. I chose it because of this bit of description toward the end of its synopsis online:

Mist’s normal world is falling apart. But thankfully, Mist isn’t quite so normal herself. She’s a Valkyrie, and she’s going to need all her skill to thwart Loki’s schemes and save modern Earth from the ravages of a battle of the gods.

A Valkyrie in modern day San Francisco, how could I resist? And I'm glad I didn't because there was a lot to love about this book. It started out several hundred years before, which though I loved this part, the book could have done without. It bore no weight on the rest of the story. I kept waiting for it to but it just didn't.

There is a lot of Norse mythology woven throughout (and admittedly sometimes 'info dumped') and as a fan of Norse mythology, I really enjoyed that part. Many of the references were very clever and helped to enrich the atmosphere of the book.

It starts off with great action and pretty much keeps up that pace throughout. Dainn's character was my favorite, though he certainly didn't start that way. I disliked him but he grew on me as his motives were revealed and he developed. I would have liked to have seen Mist's own development be as organic as his. As it was, it felt as though we just scratched the surface with her. The ending left a bit to be desired, and not because it left it open ended for a sequel, that I don't mind. Without giving away too much, it felt a bit rushed. Overall I enjoyed this and I would read another book by this author involving these characters.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Writer's Road Recap: Setting

Here is an abbreviated recap of last week's live Writer's Road chat on Setting. Join us tonight for another great, often trending, chat on Twitter!

Many novels that resonate with readers do so because they make them feel as if they are THERE. That is what we must strive for. #WritersRoad

@HeatherMcCorkle One of my favorite techniques is to pack as many of the five senses as I can into the scene. #writersroad

@Chris_Ledbetter Me too! The senses are what it's all about. #WritersRoad

The key to writing a powerful setting is for the writer to 1st visualize & KNOW it in all its sensory glory BEFORE composing. #writersroad

I love envisioning my writing like a movie scene. Helps to capture the details. #writersroad

Bring your settings alive. Know the season and use it to its full advantage; scents, colors, tastes, feelings, sounds. #WritersRoad

When creating a setting, remember the dynamic things as well as the static: are their crowds, cars, insects, tumbleweeds? #WritersRoad

To describe a setting like your own, close your eyes, what do you hear, smell, taste, feel? Great exercise. #WritersRoad

Always be careful in writing not to focus too heavily on only ONE sense--like sight. Setting must be 3-D in sensory experience. #writersroad

Tolkien does this very well. Makes you WANT to go to the Shire and avoid Mordor. #WritersRoad

I like a pragmatic approach to setting that involves character interaction with the unique environment. Food is good for this #WritersRoad

Setting motivates the reader to become invested in the story. Make that motivation irresistible. #writersroad

A setting can have its own personality: is it malicious, peaceful, aggressive, alive, sterile, or indifferent? #WritersRoad

Try to have your character interact with as much as possible in the scene. #settings #writersroad

For authentic setting KNOW your place. If you don't know it, discover it. #writersroad

It helps for me to jot down a chapters setting and detail separate and then work it into my revision for that chapter. #writersroad

Interaction is key w/ sensory detail.Notice the color of eyes when they cry,the texture of their hair when the wind sweeps it. #writersroad

If you're crafting a fantasy setting, don't be afraid to draw maps. They don't have be fantastic, (1/2) #WritersRoad

(2/2) but they'll give you an idea of distances between places and how long it will take to get there based on avail. tech. #WritersRoad

I think setting is micro, whereas world building is macro. Setting at the scene level evolves out of your world building #writersroad

Dont forget emotion when doling out sensory detail.If the rain on ur face reminds u of the past &the heartache there, explain. #writersroad

@teetate Yes, emotional connections to triggers can be fantastic when used right. #WritersRoad

Love haunting old antique stores/flea markets. All kinds of unique research material available for world building. #WritersRoad

If plot is the head, your characters the heart then setting is the hand that guides all three. Don't take it lightly. #WritersRoad

Things you need to know about your setting: Where it is (city/state/country), when it is (season, year) and why then and there. #WritersRoad

Where and when your book takes place can be just as important as the story, and should enrich it. #WritersRoad

Setting should feel like the home waiting to comfort your chars at the end of the day. Or what they miss when not there. #writersroad

Smell is the sense tied to memory, so using it pulls the reader into the scene #writersroad

@teetate I like that. Or it can be the opposite depending on the genre. #WritersRoad

Twilight HAD to be set in the rainiest place in America…Hunger Games HAD to be set in a collapsed America. Setting. Is. HUGE. #writersroad

Found this today, very cool for setting inspiration: Click "Random Place" at ATLAS OBSCURA atlasobscura.com/places/treehou… #writersroad

If your setting has no bearing on the plot or no point to the conflicts, then you're not MAXIMIZING its potential! #writersroad

Pinterest is a good resource for setting inspiration. #writersroad

Setting can sometimes be a manifestation of character crises. The inimical Wild of Jack London or the hot stillness of Faulkner #writersroad

@HeatherMcCorkle The setting should have significance to the protag 2. Positive or negative. Should make them feel an emotion #writersroad

Flat description of setting can slow the pace, but if it has emotional hit, then it adds to the scene. #writersroad

If you can take your characters out of their setting, put them in new one & story still works, then setting is not rich enough. #writersroad

For great sensory details, I highly recommend this author's book: thebookshelfmuse.blogspot.com #WritersRoad

And don't be afraid to describe textures. It's very sensory and pulls readers into the experience. :) #writersroad

Oh! Setting Thesaurus! Please do use it. Over 100 different settings with lists of 5 senses description #writersroad thebookshelfmuse.blogspot.ca

10 great Questions to Ask When Picking a setting by @Janice_Hardy blog.janicehardy.com/2013/07/10-que… #writersroad

Another good one: Are You Using Setting to Deepen Your Characters? helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/2010/01/are-yo… by @KMWeiland #writersroad