Monday, June 25, 2012

Jack Cam

My new puppy Jack faces off against the evil denta-bone.  Enjoy!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Blog Tour: A Princess Broken by Misty Gatlin

Misty Gatlin is visiting today on the A Princess Broken blog tour.  

Sarah defines herself as many things:  broken, damaged, addicted, and hopeless.  Hurt at an early age by someone dear to her, she retaliates by living a life filled with destruction.  Her past has finally caught up with her, and she’s ready to call it quits.  Her story unfolds when she meets a compassionate stranger who helps her realize past decisions don’t define who she is, and what she thought was the end of her story is only the beginning.  A life-changing decision is placed in front of her, and she’s forced to face it head on.  What will she choose, and where will that path lead her?

Watch the trailer:   A Princess Broken Book Trailer

I asked Misty the following question about Sarah her MC:

If your main character was a real person, what would her room look like? Her wardrobe? What music would be on her ipod? What group would she hang out with at school?

Sarah is the main character in A Princess Broken.  She’s a 15 year old who has a rather large story to tell.  She has no home and has been on the streets for a long time, but we get a pretty good glimpse into her style later in the book. 

She’s simple in her style and would likely dress in jeans and a fitted T-shirt with some type of colorful design or words.  She’s not into spending hours fixing her hair and makeup, so her hair would usually be up, and her makeup would consist of eyeliner and mascara only.  Even without makeup she is beautiful.  She would always be seen with a simple, feminine tiara necklace.

Her room would be colorful.  Bright neon colors would radiate from her comforter and pillows, and one wall would be covered floor to ceiling with pictures torn from magazines.  You might look in her room and discover something seemingly out of place; a pink box with pink feathers on top would be sitting on the edge of her dresser.   Nowhere else would pink be seen in her room, so it would stand out like a sore thumb.  Once you hear her story in its entirety, you’ll know why it’s there.

Music would always be playing in her room, but it’s always different.  Her moods change, and because she is such a music lover, her music reflects the mood she’s in.  Although her playlist consists mostly of hard rock and pop, she also enjoys hip hop and rap.  Her philosophy is if you can dance to it, it’s worth listening to.

Sarah would hang out with a small group of people.  She doesn’t feel comfortable in crowds, so you would usually see her with the same two or three people every day.  She doesn’t pay attention to labels or cliques and wouldn’t allow herself to be labeled into a particular group. 

Sarah sounds like an interesting character, Misty.  Thank you for visiting today!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Indelibles Release: To Ride a Puca by Heather McCorkle

It’s the last leg of my tour and I’m dropping by to celebrate the birth of my new book, To Ride A Puca. *waves to G.P. and all her friends* Before we get to the goodies I’m giving away this week, here is a bit about the newborn. It is a young adult historical fantasy about the last of the druids in ancient Ireland. This one was a bit heartbreaking to write and because of that it became very special to me. I hope it will be to you as well.

Invaders are coming to take what isn't theirs, again.

Neala wants to stand and fight for her homeland, but as one of the last druids, she may be standing alone.

Persecuted, hunted down, forced to live in obscurity, the druids have all but given up. Can the determination of a girl who has barely come into her power bring them together? Or, just when she finally finds her place among her kind, will they end up losing a homeland their very magic is tied to?

 Disclaimer: This novel contains some violence and difficult subject matter. It is recommended for mature YA and up.

To Ride A Puca is available in eBook and hardback at B&NAmazonThe Book Depository and other retail sites.

This week is the biggest prize yet, a signed paperback of Saundra Mitchell’s fabulous YA paranormal historical about a girl who can see the future, The Vespertine and a signed hardback of the companion novel, The Springsweet. Saundra’s writing is breathtakingly beautiful and she is the one who inspired me to write historical in the first place, so it only seemed fitting to give away copies of her book. I was delighted when she graciously agreed to sign both copies! The contest will be open until June 17th, the winner to be announced on the 18th. Stop by my blog to enter.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Is it Time to Break Up With Your Critique Partner?

Critique partners should believe
in each other's work.
I've been really lucky to have great critique partners during my writing career, but many people are not so fortunate. Behind the scenes this week, a few newer writers have discussed with me their experiences with critiquing, and I thought the topic would make a good blog post. The stories I'm about to tell you are true although names and minor details have been changed to protect both the innocent and the guilty.

Rebecca finished her first novel, a humorous suspense with a strong, gritty voice.  She joined a critique group to prepare for submitting her novel to agents.  When her first critique came back, there was more red ink than type. Halfway through edits, Rebecca realized that her new partner was trying to turn her lighthearted, humorous, suspense into a literary novel. She was successful when she scrapped the changes and stuck with her original version.

Jonathon swapped manuscripts with Eric.  Although Eric's manuscript was in poor condition grammatically, Jonathon worked hard to give Eric the most detailed feedback possible, pointing out multiple objective errors and how to correct them. In contrast, when Jonathon's manuscript was returned  it contained almost no comments from Eric.  Far from appreciating Jonathon's effort, Eric made it widely known in social circles that his manuscript was "ripped apart" by Jonathon.

Sally was a first time self-pubbed author who couldn't afford an editor. She traded manuscripts with another self-pubbed author, Tim, for proofreading. But Sally was pressed for time, so she skimmed Tim's work rather than giving it the attention she would give her own manuscript. She gave Tim feedback, but it was far from thorough. When Tim's feedback came in, there was more red ink than Sally was expecting.  Since she was still pressed for time, she decided to make only some of the suggested changes.  Tim was offended when the book was published containing objective errors that he clearly pointed out in Sally's manuscript. He was also disappointed when he found multiple errors in his own work she didn't catch and ended up having to hire an editor anyway.

 As writers, we all want strong critique partners but, unless your partner has worked as an editor, he or she is probably not practiced at coaching the best from your manuscript. AND THAT'S OKAY! Critiquing after all isn't a job, and fellow writers are not paid editors. CP's give each other a significant investment of their time, knowing it may not pay off in a direct way (Indirectly, I'm convinced critiquing keeps a writer's editing skills sharp and sparks creativity). I truly believe every well intentioned CP has something to offer a manuscript. But sometimes things go wrong and the relationship hurts more than it helps. 
A toxic critiquing relationship drags you down and makes you less likely to confidently pursue improvement of your work. 

Here are some warning signs of when to call it quits.
  • Your CP consistently corrects something (or multiple somethings) in your manuscripts that isn't wrong, despite you pointing out why your style choice is correct. You look up the style choice in CMOS just to make sure, and yes that colon, comma, etc. is in the right place. Still, he/she keeps "finding" it.
  • Your CP confuses opinion with fact. He/she just can't believe your character would do that and therefore your story is wrong. Or she heard that publishers were looking for X and your manuscript is Y therefore you have to change it. These sins are so formidable he/she can't finish reading your work although somehow you made it through his/her 100,000 word masterpiece on The History of The Snail.
  • Your CP is never available or takes an excessively long time to get your manuscript back to you, then has few suggestions for improvement.
  • Your CP says a bunch of complimentary things about your manuscript but doesn't catch the glaring typo on page 45, and you have reason to suspect he/she didn't read the entire manuscript.  This is what I call the poison pill.  Intentionally NOT pointing out problems or reviewing the manuscript haphazardly is the worst thing a CP can do to you because it gives you false confidence. Critique partners need to give and take honest criticism freely and peruse each other's work carefully. 
  • Your CP has never said anything complimentary about your writing.
  • Your CP doesn't thank you for your critique and/or doesn't use your objective suggestions.  Here I am talking about someone who makes an objective grammatical error, you point out the error, and they intentionally don't change it.  (And yes, I've heard of an incident of this happening)
  • Your CP gossips about your critique to others, or (God forbid) shows your unfinished work to others.
  • Your CP tries to make your writing something that it's not. Your humorous piece comes back sounding like non-fiction or worse.
Want to be a great CP? Do the opposite. Give careful, well-researched feedback, in line with your partner's expectations. Explain why you have the opinion you do when giving subjective advice. Point out both the good and the bad in the manuscript in a way that conveys that you really believe in your partner's ability to make it better. Give and take criticism confidentially with an open mind and in a timely manner.

Readers, I'm curious, how do you get the most out of your critiquing relationships?

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