Monday, 1 December 2014

Effortless With You Blitz!

EffortlessWithYou


What’s in a Name? (Naming characters)

What’s in a Name?
Hi! Thank you so much for having me on the blog. I’m thrilled to be sharing insight on how I named my characters in the Effortless With You series!


LCharles_M9B_PerfectlyMessy_eCover_1800x2700 (1)

Naming my characters is very important to me. I put a lot of time and effort into it. I’m around the “naming” process all the time as a neonatal intensive care nurse. One of my favorite moments is when a parent whispers their child’s name to them for the first time. Or helping them choose their names as they look at their little baby through the isolette. The moment the name is settled, it’s magical. I can honestly feel a shift in the air.

 Lion King Gif


The little life that I cradle in my hands just became a Robert Henry. How cool is that? The same thing happens when characters of a novel are named. Here are the five steps I generally take when naming a character:


Five Steps to Naming Characters.
1. Choose the Vibe. Do you want it to be a modern name? An eclectic name? A classic name?

2. Hit up baby naming lists and blogs. Look at what’s popular now and up to ten years prior. This is important to me as I absolutely want to connect with my audience, which are readers ages 13+ (we are all young adults at heart, aren’t we.

 3. Run said names against your own name prejudices you picked up from your schooling years. Noah is always a name I try to seriously consider for a main love interest but I can’t make the leap--- not after playing cello in front of the most boogery Noah on earth for eight years. That’s right. EIGHT YEARS OF BOOGERS. Yuck.

 4. Take the name and run it by people that are dear to you. This is key when I choose my guy names. I’ll tell my friends, “okay, this guy is supposed to be that frat-boy you hate.” Together we’ll play with my top names, perhaps tweak spelling and do whatever it takes to find a way to portray just that.

LCSignature5. When it comes down to it, naming characters is like naming a baby. So what does that mean? Just name them what feels right once you meet them. ☺ Sometimes you actually have to start writing your characters before their name materializes. I’ve actually changed names out a few chapters in once I realized that my Tripp was actually a Beckett, etc. So how did this add up to finding Lucy and Justin for Effortless With You and Perfectly Messy? I named my characters the summer of 2010. I knew I wanted my female lead to be strong, a bit of a spitfire, but incredibly kind. At the time, I’d recently moved into a townhome association and was fascinated with this ninety three year old woman who lived across the courtyard named Lucy. This woman was up at dawn and went to bed past midnight. I don’t think a week went by where she wasn’t throwing a party for all the ladies on the block. Lucy was that type of person who made you feel like you were the most important person on Earth when she spoke to you. She was that amazing.

Old Lady

So, Lucy became my female lead. And Justin? Well … I did all the baby name searches but when it came down to it, I had a small dose of Bieber Fever (please remember that this is 2010).


Bieber Fever

So, naturally, I named the love interest in my romance Justin. Thankfully, once I started writing, my Justin strayed far away from being even close to Bieber-ish.

Source Credit Pinterest and http://blogss4fun7437.blogspot.com

Source Credit Pinterest and http://blogss4fun7437.blogspot.com[/caption]



What are your favorite character names? Can you imagine what Twilight would be like if Edward was actually named Todd or Eustice? See, names count! Thanks so much for having me on the blog!




Interested in Lizzy Charles' novels Effortless With You and Perfectly Messy? They are available on AmazonNook, iBooks, and most ebook readers. Prefer a book you can actually hold in your hand and smell? Both novels are available in print via Amazon and available to order through many local bookstores if you ask. :)



Want to know more about the books?


 
Book & Author Details:

Effortless With You series by Lizzy Charles
Published by: Swoon Romance
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis book 1 - Effortless WIth You:
 
School is out and Lucy is ready for the perfect summer: lazy days at the pool, invitations to the most exclusive parties, and romantic dates with her hot new boyfriend. That is, until she lands in trouble one too many times and her parents issue the ultimate punishment: a summer job. Suddenly, the summer can’t end fast enough.

To make matters worse, the job is painting houses with Justin, the most popular, egotistical guy in school. Spending all summer with Justin might be other girls’ dreams, but definitely not Lucy’s. After all, Justin is cocky, annoying, and a jerk. So what if he’s the most beautiful jerk Lucy’s ever seen? Or that his grin makes her forget she’s mad at the world? Or that maybe, just maybe, there’s more to Justin than Lucy realizes. Only one thing is certain: it won’t be the summer she wanted, but it might be exactly the one she needs



 
Synopsis book 2 - Perfectly Messy:
 
Popularity isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. Justin Marshall knows this better than most. For the captain of the basketball team, small business owner, and son of Minnesota’s next governor, life can get pretty overwhelming. But Justin can handle anything as long as he has Lucy, the girl who fell for the man he’s trying to be.

But for Justin and Lucy, finding time together proves challenging. Stolen kisses and whispered promises just aren’t enough. That is, until scandalous photos of the couple are leaked to a press intent on creating a juicy scandal during Justin’s dad’s gubernatorial campaign. And when Lucy becomes fair play for the tabloids and gossip pages, Justin does the only thing he can to protect her: he breaks her heart.
For Lucy, junior year is everything she hoped it would be: new friends, second chances, and a boyfriend she can’t stop kissing. That is, until the boy she’s pretty sure she loves chooses the life his family wants for him, over her.

Now it’s up to Lucy to teach him what it really means to have everything. Because for Justin, being who everyone needs him to be just might cost him the one person he can’t live without


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Amarok's Bite

Amarok's Bite

 Urban Fantasy Short Story (previously published in the Winter Wonders Anthology)


Title: Amarok's Bite
Author: Yelena Casale
Genre: Urban Fantasy - short story (4500 words)
Release Date: December 3rd, 2014 
Cover Design: Tina Moss


Amarok's Bite

Lilly and her sexy beast of a werewolf partner Shayne make a great team working for the Peace Control Department. But when she tries to take on a rogue amarok on her own, things go terribly wrong, and she is left with an agonizing choice between dying and becoming a despised amarok herself. When Shayne makes the choice for her, she has to come to terms with what she is, and her feelings for Shayne, before facing off against the creature that changed her life forever.

About the Author

Yelena Casale is an award-winning author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Being very curious and inquisitive, she has been a devoted reader and writer since childhood. As a 2nd degree black belt and instructor in Shotokan karate, an avid traveler and history and art enthusiast, she weaves universal themes with martial arts philosophies into her stories. She lives with her amazing, super supportive husband. In her spare time, she reads, paints, watches cool shows on TV and tries to get more sleep. Like the samurai of the old, as well as the ultimate Renaissance man and Yelena's favorite historical figure, Leonardo da Vinci, she believes that nothing is greater than mastery of oneself.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Character - CALL SIGN KARMA book blitz

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Today we are having a character blitz post for CALL SIGN KARMA by debut author Jamie Rae. This book will be released January 5th, 2015. Be sure to check out the teasers and rafflecopter below.

 

Click here to ADD THE BOOK TO GOODREADS

 

Learn more about Locke Sinclair

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Learn more about Tinklee Pinkerton

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BOOK BLURB:

Love in the no-fly zone… Distraught over the loss of her brother in a fighter jet accident, Tinklee Pinkerton decides to follow in his footsteps and prove the tragedy wasn’t his fault. But when she’s chosen as the first woman to fly the Air Force’s F-35, her plan for a life that revolves around work is thrown off course by a handsome, mysterious stranger… Thanks to Locke’s seductive British accent, sweet nature, and one too many beers, Tink is soon inspired to throw caution to the wind and herself into his arms. She thinks maybe love can heal after all—until she discovers Locke is her superior officer. Tink has no problem risking her life in the air, but with everything on the line, is she brave enough to risk her heart on the ground? CSK_TeaserNEW CSK_TeaserNEW2

PRE-ORDER LINKS AND GIVEAWAY:

If you pre-order CALL SIGN KARMA by Jamie Rae, you can enter your information in to receive a signed bookmark. Please pre-order by January 2nd. US addresses only please.

FILL OUT THE FORM HERE: http://a.pgtb.me/r013Sg

PRE-ORDER LINKS:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1sxUP64

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1xogCRW

   
a Rafflecopter giveaway

JamieRaeAuthor Information:

JAMIE RAE is a New Adult and Young Adult author. She writes with one goal in mind--create stories with a positive message that will stay with the reader long after they've finished reading. Jamie is an avid reader and loves discovering stories with a great hook, though she will not eat, sleep, or speak until she reaches the end. The Harry Potter years weren't pretty!! Convinced that her Hogwarts letter was lost in the mail, she keeps a watchful eye for owls hoping her children will have better luck! In her other life, Jamie Rae is an orthodontist, and literary agent. She keeps her heart overflowing with love as a mother of three and has perfected the art of nomadic living as a military spouse and Air Force veteran. Jamie has a passion for critters of all shapes and sizes and you can often find her sneaking them into her own home or volunteering for rescues. AUTHOR LINKS: Website: https://www.jamieraewrites.com/ Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/JamieRaeAuthor Twitter: https://twitter.com/JamieRaeWrites Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8295257.Jamie_Rae   Blogger Button

Friday, 7 November 2014

SING FOR ME!

It's with great pleasure I introduce the cover reveal for a stunning new novel about to hit the internet - SING FOR ME by Gracie Madison.

Check it out....




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BOOK & AUTHOR INFO:

Sing For Me by Gracie Madison
Publication date: January 23rd 2015
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal Romance

Synopsis:
Madeline Noel fled war-torn Heaven to hide within the mortal world, but the blessing that could protect her from evil is the holy realm’s forbidden power.
As a talented soprano for the Eden Theatre Company, Madeline hides among prima donnas and tone-deaf flutists. Her perfect voice may entertain audiences, but a careless laugh may shatter glass, and her greatest scream can kill. To control her unrestrained voice, the angels forbid Madeline from embracing the emotions that strengthen her song. Anger. Fear.
Love.
The demon-hunter Damascus vows to defend Madeline from Hell’s relentless evil, but he cannot protect her from her own feelings. Though they deny their dangerous attraction, her guardian becomes her greatest temptation.
Surrendering to desire may awaken the gift suppressed within Madeline’s soul, and neither Heaven nor Hell will allow such absolute power to exist.


AUTHOR BIO:

Gracie Madison would spend every day, all day writing...if it were socially acceptable.  Ever since she was a little girl scribbling with a crayon, Gracie's dedicated herself to her books and all the supernatural and paranormal, creepy and beautiful stories and characters born within the pages. Now Gracie is committed to finally sharing those books with the world.  When the laptop is pried from her hands, Gracie is probably working her day job, rooting on the Steelers, or out with her husband searching for Pittsburgh’s best sushi.

Author Links:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Review - The Bear by Claire Cameron

THE BEAR by CLAIRE CAMERON



I am thrilled to review an amazing book this month. THE BEAR by Claire Cameron is an absolutely riveting read, told in the raw and honest point of view of five-year-old Anna.  When her family is killed by a black bear on a family camping trip, Anna saves her brother and escapes.

This is a story of survival and love. When Anna escapes the bear and paddles off in the canoe, she thinks she's safe. However, they end up stranded in the woods and things go from bad to worse. Now they must battle hunger, the elements, and a dangerous wilderness that threatens their lives at every turn. Cameron handles this on every turn with startling clarity, showcasing the love between one girl and her family to its utter extreme.

Anna's journey is at times both startling and heartbreaking, lifting and terrifying. Emotion leaks from the pages. She shows startling compassion and love for her 2 year old brother Stick, and although Anna is only five and has limited experience to draw on, watching her commitment to their journey is truly captivating.

At times the suspense is so much it's almost unbearable and the horror in the book can be galling, but Cameron is such an excellent writer that she pulls it off with style.

If you are looking for a riveting, heart stopping, almost too much read that will have you gripping the edge of your seat, then check it out for sure.

This gets a top notch recommendation.

Score out of 5?

I'm giving this a 4.5. Only because at some times, I had to close my eyes!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Cover Reveal - CALL SIGN KARMA

I am thrilled to take part in the cover reveal of a book by a very special lady - YA and NA Author Jamie Rae. I had the pleasure of getting to read this book in its earlier stages, and I can tell you that you won't be disappointed. Read on for all the details!

CSK_CoverF

Today is the cover reveal for CALL SIGN KARMA by debut author Jamie Rae. This book will be released January 5th, 2015. Be sure to check out the teasers and rafflecopter below.

 

Click here to ADD THE BOOK TO GOODREADS

CSK_Teaser1

BOOK BLURB:

Love in the no-fly zone… Distraught over the loss of her brother in a fighter jet accident, Tinklee Pinkerton decides to follow in his footsteps and prove the tragedy wasn’t his fault. But when she’s chosen as the first woman to fly the Air Force’s F-35, her plan for a life that revolves around work is thrown off course by a handsome, mysterious stranger… Thanks to Locke’s seductive British accent, sweet nature, and one too many beers, Tink is soon inspired to throw caution to the wind and herself into his arms. She thinks maybe love can heal after all—until she discovers Locke is her superior officer. Tink has no problem risking her life in the air, but with everything on the line, is she brave enough to risk her heart on the ground?


CSK_Teaser2  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

JamieRaeAuthor Information:

JAMIE RAE is a New Adult and Young Adult author. She writes with one goal in mind--create stories with a positive message that will stay with the reader long after they've finished reading. Jamie is an avid reader and loves discovering stories with a great hook, though she will not eat, sleep, or speak until she reaches the end. The Harry Potter years weren't pretty!! Convinced that her Hogwarts letter was lost in the mail, she keeps a watchful eye for owls hoping her children will have better luck! In her other life, Jamie Rae is an orthodontist, and literary agent. She keeps her heart overflowing with love as a mother of three and has perfected the art of nomadic living as a military spouse and Air Force veteran. Jamie has a passion for critters of all shapes and sizes and you can often find her sneaking them into her own home or volunteering for rescues.

AUTHOR LINKS:
Website: https://www.jamieraewrites.com/ Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/JamieRaeAuthor Twitter: https://twitter.com/JamieRaeWrites Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8295257.Jamie_Rae   Blogger Button

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Cover Reveal - A Touch Of Darkness

Please give a HUGE ovation for the new cover reveal of A TOUCH OF DARKNESS by Yelena Casale and Tina Moss!

FIRST PLACE in the Readers' Crown Award for urban fantasy.

FIRST PLACE in Central Florida RWA's Touch of Magic 
contest for paranormal romance.

Title: A Touch of Darkness
Author: Yelena Casale & Tina Moss
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: March 2, 2015 
https://gum.co/muxG

A Touch of Darkness 

Key Series, Book One
 
Cassie Durrett dreams of the darkness. And lives the nightmare. She's working for a tightwad boss at a pretentious NYC diner, dealing with paralyzing pain that doctors can’t diagnose, and trying to hide her hands that glow purple whenever she ...well, whenever. 

So, when mystery man, Gabe, walks out of her dreams and into her life to spout some nonsense about her being a mythical creature, she chalks it up to one more crazy thing to add to her it’s-a-crappy-life list. Yet, when his predictions start to come true, she'll need his help to beat back the darkness-spawned creatures invading her reality.

Pretty soon Gabe has her running half way across the country in search of answers. As a bond grows between them, Cassie worries not about losing her mind to the paranormal madness, nor her life to  hellish monsters. Rather her deepest fear is surrendering her heart to a powerful man fallen from grace.  

Teaser

 

About the Authors

Yelena Casale is an award-winning author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Being very curious and inquisitive, she has been a devoted reader and writer since childhood. As a 2nd degree black belt and instructor in Shotokan karate, an avid traveler and history and art enthusiast, she weaves universal themes with martial arts philosophies into her stories. She lives with her amazing, super supportive husband. In her spare time, she reads, paints, watches cool shows on TV and tries to get more sleep. Like the samurai of the old, as well as the ultimate Renaissance man and Yelena's favorite historical figure, Leonardo da Vinci, she believes that nothing is greater than mastery of oneself.


Tina Moss is an award-winning author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, romantic suspense, and New Adult novels.  She lives in NYC with a supportive husband and alpha corgi, though both males hog the bed and refuse to share the covers. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching cheesy horror flicks, traveling, and karate. As a 5'1" Shotokan black belt, she firmly believes that fierce things come in small packages.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Cover reveal - ONE WISH AWAY

Today, we have the extreme pleasure of hosting the cover reveal for Kelley Lynn and her book ONE WISH AWAY. I urge you to check this book out, because it's got a truly stunning premise and a unique and fun angle. What would you do if you discoverd a star had gone missing from the sky?







One Wish Away

by Kelley Lynn

Release Date: 11/11/14
Bloomsbury Spark






Book Summary:


Be careful what you wish for…


Lyra has always been ahead of the curve. Top of her class in school, a budding astronomer, and with a best friend like Darren she barely has time to miss the mother who abandoned her family years ago. She's too busy planning to follow in her father's footsteps, and to become the youngest astronomer at Space Exploration and Discovery.



When a star goes missing Lyra is determined to get to the bottom of it only to discover her braniac dad is the mastermind of a top-secret government experiment. They promise to build a perfect world, one galaxy at a time, but with every tweak of the present, a bit more of the future starts to crumble.


Lyra has to go undercover to reveal the truth and let humanity decide if the consequences are worth more than wishing on a star.













About the Author

Eventually the day came when the voices in Kelley Lynn’s head were more insistent then her engineering professor’s. So instead of turning to her Thermodynamics book, Kelley brought up a blank page on her computer screen and wrote. Somewhere along the way she became a Young Adult author.



Kelley was born and raised a Midwestern girl. She’s not afraid to sweat and fills her free time with softball, soccer and volleyball. (Though you probably don’t want her on your volleyball team.) She occasionally makes guest appearances as a female vocalist for area bands. Music plays a large role in her writing process as well as the characters and plot lines within her stories.

You can find Kelley hanging out at her blog, titled in her name, as well as the group blog she shares with her fellow critique partners, Falling for Fiction. Kelley is a member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators.






Author Links:








Cover Reveal Organized by:

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Shining gems in Pitch Wars

As the mentoring section is in full swing, I thought I'd take a moment to relate back why I picked who I did in Pitch Wars, in the hopes that anyone who wasn't picked might be able to learn a few tidbits about what can improve their chances in the future.

Let's start with my main mentee - C.M Franklin with BIG BOYS DON'T CRY (currently renamed as Hope On A Feather).

The first thing that struck me about this book was the character.  The character literally spilled off the pages.  This author did a wonderful job of showing me the heart and soul of her character, so much so I felt they were real.  How did she achieve this?  By giving each character a completely different personality, but by showing why these characters had bonded together.  She made them multifaceted.  They laughed, cried, joked around, and stood by each other.  Everything about them made it feel as if they had known each other for years.  In order to achieve this, you need to know your character inside and out.  You can't just open the page and write from page one.  You need to know what this character has experienced in their life, what they believe, and why they do.  It's like knowing someone else entirely different from yourself.  You need to make sure you're not just writing from your POV (which a lot of new writers fall into automatically by default).  As a new writer, you want to delve into your character and find out who THEY really are.

The second thing that struck me was voice - it felt YA (which is the genre I mentor).  The writer focused on what matters to teens, how they see the world, and how they bond with each other.  This helped create a believable voice.  It's not just an adult looking back and narrating what it's like to be a teen.  It's a teen talking on the page.

Thirdly, emotion.  This book dug deep into the emotion of each character.  It looked at not only the surface emotions of happy, sad, angry, etc.  It looked into jealousy, anger, envy, empathy, understanding and spite.  It went through the spectrum.  A lot of writers forget to really delve into the emotional spectrum.  This writer did, and she did it from page one.  I'd recommend all writers do the same.





Next, let's look at my alternate - Gwen C. Katz with AMONG THE RED STARS.

Style.  Style, style, style.  This writer's pages grabbed me because they were confident, stylish, and made me believe in what she was saying.  Style means delving into the world of your book and describing the people and events in it with confidence.  You have to know your world inside out.  You have to live and breathe it.  My alternate did just this.  She showed that this was her world and she had full command over it.  I believed everything she said because she picked out details unique to her world, she confidently described her characters, and she moved through her text with the skill of someone who knows where and when they are, and with whom they're with.

Secondly, she picked out a unique story with unique characters.  She didn't just opt for an average story.  She took a quirky historical moment in time and really developed it into the character's story.  This event in time didn't stay just about the event - it became about a specific person in that event.  It focused on how it affected them and why the reader should care.  And care I did.  Very much so.



Third, the thing that struck me about Among The Red Stars was the sheer mastery of scope at the same time as focusing on the personal.  She managed to encompass a huge world building breadth in her book, but tie it down to a personal, easy to relate to situation between one girl and her immediate family and friends.  This brought a great contrast to the book, which swept me off my feet.



So there you have it.  I hope this little insight into what made me pick my mentee and my alternate helps you hone in on where you can work on your own writing.  I will say, I am blessed that I have found two such amazing, talented and dedicated writers to work with.  I have faith they will both find their agent homes.  And I have hope that you all will too!



Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Rejection? Brush it off...

Rejection is a bummer.  A slap you in the face, rock your world, make you want to burn your writing bummer.  It happens to all of us.  Every single one of us.  And it hurts.  It hurts so bad your throat aches as you struggle to get breath out.  Or you scream at the laptop that whoever rejected you should go to you know where.  I know that, I feel your pain.

And then you get up, dust yourself off, and paste on your "I'm professional so won't react like this in public, but you're killing me" face and get back on the grindstone.

I know this.

How do I know?

Because I have been where you are in EPIC ways.  I wrote and subbed my first book (Adult crime) at 16.  I sent it direct to publishers.  They were nice and humoured the idiot child.  Obviously, that book didn't go anywhere.

I then spent the next 16 years writing - I wrote 9 full books.  I wrote 7 in varying stages as well.  I subbed 7 books out of all of these.  The rejections flooded in.  The full requests flooded in.  Rejections flooded in.  Rinse and repeat for a long, long time.  Like a LONG LONG TIME.  Years and years.

At times I threw a complete fit.  Seriously.  I threatened never to write again.  I stopped writing for 2 years.  One day I got a rejection that broke the camel's back and I sobbed (ugly sobs) for way too long.

Eventually, I'd dust myself off and start again.  Some wonderful agents gave me fantastic advice (one in particular I emailed the day I got my agent and I thanked her for being amazing towards me).


My rejections numbered in the hundreds.  High hundreds.

And I struggled with this a lot.  Especially as I'm a full time freelance writer and I ghost write.  So why couldn't I get an agent?


And then I entered PitMad.  And I got requests.  And then...I got offers!

I didn't do a happy dance at my offer.  I didn't fist pump.  I didn't shout yeah!

I sat.

In total silence.

Stunned and in shock.

16 years.  16 years of the hardest work of my life.

And I got my agent - the wonderful, amazing Jamie Bodnar Drowley who gets me.  And loves my work.  And has faith in me.  And the wonderful part is I know if I can do it, anyone with patience, persistence, and a belief that they want their work out there can do it.

 So chosen or not for Pitch Wars, I salute you, I support you, and if you need me, you only need to give me a tweet!


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Midway Inbox Update

So here it is...midway update on what I'm feeling from the inbox:

video

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Inbox Update

Want to know what's working for me in the inbox and why?  Want to know how it works?

I hope this is helpful, and thanks for stopping by!


video

Sunday, 10 August 2014

First 250 words from a mentor!

Are you wondering if I'm the right mentor for you?  If so, maybe I can help.  I decided to post the first 250 words from my WiP so that you can judge whether you think I have something to teach you.  Some people might love this; some of you might hate it.  Either way, you'll know if we're a fit!

Genre - YA Folklore Mystery



The news came just after dawn.  The officer arrived at the door, the peak of his cap dripping rain water, hands clutched around a bundle of paperwork.  Splotches of rain dampened the folder.
“It’s him, isn’t it?” said Lucy.
She already knew.  She could feel it in her gut.
The officer nodded and handed her the papers.  “Do you want me to”-
“No.  No, thank you.”  Pins and needles overwhelmed her body and she fought to keep herself in focus.  “I’ll tell her.  Thank you.”

The door closed with a final thump, blocking out the rain.  Thank you.  Two little words.  So wrong.  So wrong but what else could she say?

She pulled open the living room door, and stared at her Ma, whose flimsy hands clutched a cup of cold tea, her rice-paper cheeks grey and fluttering.  Lucy stood, unable to move for the barest of moments, as though removed from her own actions.  He had been the one to do these things, to handle everything that life threw their way, not her.
Ma caught her staring.  “Is it”-
Lucy’s eyes burned.  The prickles grew.  Suddenly, she was floating.  And yet somehow she anchored herself.  Pulled herself from the fuzzy outlines of her body and back to what she had to do.  Opening the door hadn’t been enough.  He would have expected more from her.
She drew breath.  “Yes.  It’s him.”

Friday, 8 August 2014

Autoreject?

Howdy!

Right, since it's only TEN days until submission day, I thought it only fair I fill you in on what would be an instant autoreject from me in a submission.  I'm telling you this to save you a wasted entry, because I want each and everyone of you to succeed.



So here goes...

1)  Opening in a dream sequence.  Really, even if you think yours is super different, it's not for me.  I want to see MCs in active scenes, not dreaming about something and being in bed.  If you still want me as a mentor, please shoogle this scene to a later date.  ;-)

2)  Characters describing themselves in a mirror.  Just no.  Not now, not ever.  I hate this.  It's probably my biggest bugbear ever.  Show me you have skill as a writer and go another route!

3)  Animals being hurt.  I'm sorry but there is no way in my lifetime I can do this.  I turn off movies that show this.  I throw books at the wall that show this.  My little animal crazy heart can't do this (and if it is a dog or a horse, then woah...I am not your friend!).

4)  Too much exposition.  I don't mind a little, but if you explain everything to me, I'll feel you don't trust me to work out some things on my own.

5) Too much snark.  I love witty characters, but snark feels fake and forced if it's piled on too high.

6) Queries with insanely high word counts.  I can handle too high (as I can help you cut) but if we're talking plus 125K for a YA novel, then I don't have a big enough axe handy to chop that baby!

7)  Unclear, vague queries (ala "events unfold").  Yes, I would assume events unfold, because it's a book, but WHAT events?  Keep your query really, really simple.  CHARACTER, CONFLICT, STAKES.  That's it.  Don't try and wow me with mysterious angles.  All I want is a clear query that gets right to the bone of the matter.  THAT impresses me.

8)  Arrogance in a query.  I can't work with someone who is arrogant.  Confidence is awesome, but arrogance is a turn-off.

9)  Reams and reams of description.  I LOVE description.  Evocative wonderful words that paint the scene - but if you give me pages and pages with no action...I'm not going to fall in love with your book.

10)  Gory, explicit violence.  *shudder*


So there you go.  Those are usually autorejects for me.  That's not to say an agent, mentor, publisher or editor might not love these things; it;s just saying they are not for me.

Remember - research your mentors to give yourself the best possible chance!

I wish you all the best of luck!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Please Be Nice!

I wanted to take a little minute, before subs flood in for Pitch Wars, to ask all our wonderful potential mentees to remember a few things about our mentors:


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P.S.  I know most writers are very polite, but I'm hoping this will convince the extra few who don't realize that mentors work so hard for this contest, that it is about mutual respect and helping each other out!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Hook Me

Alright #PitchWars peeps.  I want you to sum up your book in a ONE sentence hook.  And I will comment on how I think you can improve it.

To start you off, here's an example from my book:

"When sixteen year old Lucy's brother washes up dead on their Scottish island, she's determined to find out what happened - murder, accident, or legend come to life."


Now it's your turn...go! 

Friday, 1 August 2014

Pitch Wars Mentor Bio & Wish List

It's Pitch Wars 2014!!!!  And I am blessed to be a mentor, which means I get to work with one of you fantabulous people!  So...how are you?  What are you writing?  And I want to know why you write it!


Oooh, nothing like a picture of the beach for a winter Pitch Wars!  Lol.  Actually, it's perfect for a writer who lives in sunny Cyprus in the Mediterranean, which is yours truly!  (yeah, and I would totally bribe summer holidays if I can get your rocking pitch!).

Since you've stopped here (thank you!), it's time for me to tell you a little about me and you can consider whether I'm the right mentor for you.  If you're still here after that, then you can have a look at my wish list and see if we're a good match.  I encourage you to ask questions and you can leave comments on the site and I'll do my best to answer.  I am a big fan of communication, transparency and honesty.

Right, time to sell myself...

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P.S. Here's an extra "why you should pick me" - Both my previous mentees raked in lots of requests over the months, and my first mentee published her book "Awakenings".

There is a HELP ME button when it comes to me being your mentor...see...



Nifty, eh?

Okay, for me, the competition is not a popularity contest.  If I'm not the right mentor for you, then that's fine - what I want is for EVERY writer to get the best opportunity, whether it's with me or another mentor.  Our goal is to achieve goals - as many as we can for as many people as we can.

That said, it's time for me to tell you what genres I am looking for.







* YA only (sorry adult and MG folks - I love you, but I can only have one genre!
* Folklore (preferably little known, ethnic, or a very original slant on known folklore)
* Mythology (same as above)
* Historical or alternate historical (nor romance only based; I prefer more action)
* Anything with an archaeological, religious, historical bent (preferably in thriller form)
* Very original mysteries
* Literary
* Epistolary novels, novels in verse, or something unusual and unique (think outside the box)
* Gothic

Those are the best genres that fit with me.  I will look at contemporary and straight thrillers, but they are not high on my list so would have to be spectacular to catch my eye.  I am not really the girl for trope romance (but I will look at original romance), science fiction (I love it but it's not for me this year), epic fantasy (I've had an overload lately), or anything supernatural (unless it has witches, mythology or is folklore based - no common tropes please).

Okay, now you know what genres I like, here's some tips on what catches my eye (still with me?):



*  I am a sucker for unique structure (novels in verse, epistolary, something unique)
* Scene reversals and unexpected twists capture me
* Characters doing unexpected things that still fall within their realm of logic
* Gorgeous writing - show me all the beautiful, sun-soaked, rain-splashed words you have
* Characters with multiple dimensions
* Tension, tension, tension
* Raw talent


P.S.  If anyone has worked through Donald Maas's book "Writing The Breakout Novel" I'd love to know.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments.  If you have a question you want to ask in private, ask me on DM on twitter.

Good luck and I can't wait to work with you!


P.S.  If you need any more convincing, here are some thoughts from my previous mentees:


"...During Pitch Wars the fabulous Fiona picked me, and my book Awakenings, to mentor. I was shocked, I was awed, I may have fainted...just a little though. After I recovered from the shock, Fiona and I got to work. Let me tell you, she was an absolute dream to work with! She was so supportive and the critiques she gave were right on the mark. My book came away cleaner and much stronger, so much so that on the day of the contest I got three full requests!


Just two months later I received a contract that I accepted. Awakenings hit the market and within three weeks broke into the 100 Best Selling YA Paranormals, making it all the way to number eighteen. I could not be more pleased with the results and I could not have picked a better mentor.

So what are you waiting for! Pick her and just bask in her awesomeness. You will not regret it. :)

J.E.Shannon author of Awakenings (Entranced Publishing)"


And from my other wonderful mentee:

"Hi all! I was lucky enough to be Fiona's pick during the last round of Pitch Wars. First, let me say this: Fiona picked me without requesting any additional material, so to everyone thinking "If I don't get a request, I didn't get picked", that may not be true.
Fiona was wonderful to work with. When she says "in-depth critique", she means it. She helped me with some of the more advanced writing mechanics, story structure and character development, and I know my novel is stronger for it. As a bonus, she is one of the most positive people I know. The only reasons I can think of to not consider Fiona is if: (1) you need a mentor to keep after you to get things done; (2) you don't like really great Scottish accents."

Jordan Teos, author of Melin's Flight

P.P.S  If you still need convincing...here's me teaching my horse how to pull a boat through a flooded forest.  HOW can you say no to that?  (Oh his name is Roger - the horse, not the boat!).

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Okay, so time for the mentor blog hop!  Please go and check them all out, as each and every one of them is amazing!


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