March 25, 2012

Our Own Sharon Bayliss is a Quarter Finalist in the ABNA!

I am so excited for my friend Sharon Bayliss over at The Blue Word. She has made it as a quarter finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award with her YA novel, THE CHARGE!

Please go here to read the rave reviews and shower her with stars to show her your support. She's giving out friendship points and everything if you do! Also, please feel free to repost this on your own site. There's no such thing as too much publicity for us writers, right?

Check out The Charge here, and you'll see why ABNA has chosen her.

Here is the excerpt:

Eighteen-year-old Warren King has been protecting his brother, Isaac, from bullies ever since Isaac decided to wear a top hat to the third grade. So when Isaac is kidnapped, Warren heads out to bust some faces. But Warren didn't expect the bully to be the King of the Texas Empire. Warren's mother confesses that Warren and his brother are some of the last members of the Texas royal family and now the new King is hunting down his relatives before the true heir decides to say, "Hey man, you're in my seat." On his journey to save his brother, Warren discovers that the legend about the Texas royal family being genetically "special" isn't a legend. The extra bioelectricity in their brain must be why Warren's brother is freaky smart, but it just makes Warren's brain buzz like a hive of killer bees. His supercharged brain doesn't add to his charm when he meets the first girl that ever made him want to do things like iron creases in his pants. She's ready to help him take on the King, but since she's an anti-monarchy activist dating the son of the President of the United States, he's not sure if she's going to kiss him or shoot him. Gone are the days when choosing a major was a big deal. Now he must embark into a West that stayed wild and choose to be King, follow a King, or die before he can retire his fake ID.THE CHARGE is set in an alternate present day after a dictator took over the Republic of Texas in 1836 and built his own empire in the West. This quirky "what-if" and its lovable and laughable anti-hero appeals to teenage fans of popular dystopian fiction and has strong crossover potential into the adult market.

I can't wait to read it! It is a truly original idea.

The best of luck to you, Sharon!

Sunshine Blog Award

Woo Hoo! Today I am boasting posting about my Sunshine Blog Award, given to me by the fabulous JE Fritz over at Still Writing.

Thank you very much J.E.!

I do love blog awards - it means someone has kindly thought about me, which is awesome. I collect them, you know. They have their own page and everything, sort of like a special trophy room with shelving, only in cyber space. You can admire check them out above on the tab marked "Blog Awards."  

One of the best things about receiving this award, is passing the sunshine along. So here is what you do:

  • Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.
  • Write a post about it.
  • Answer the questions below.
  • Pass it on to 10 bloggers who you think really deserve it and let them know.
As for the questions…

Favorite color: I wear mostly earth tones, but my favorite color is green.

Favorite animal: I love them all, but I find puppies especially sweet.

Favorite number: 444 - it's supposed to be an especially spiritual number. Now that you've seen this, it will start popping up everywhere!

Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Iced Green Tea (it goes especially well with sushi - yum!)

Facebook or Twitter: I don't tweet, so Facebook it is!

My passion: Writing, reading and traveling, especially all at the same time.

Getting or giving presents: I get so much more out of giving. Not to say that I don't like getting, too! Presents are pretty fun:)

Favorite pattern: No patterns on clothes, but for jewelry, I like the celtic patterns.

Favorite day of the week: Friday or Saturday.

Favorite flower: Sunflowers of all kinds. They make me happy. I once grew black ones and they were so awesome!

The ten people I’ll pass this award to:

1. Angela Brown because she's always sunshiny.
2. Katie at Creepy Query Girl - just check out her sunshiny face.
3. Death by Chocolate because chocolate is happy and happy is sunshiny.
4. Elise Fallson - check out crackmeupology, now that's sunshiny.
5. Erin Shakespear - because she's sunshiny and I didn't see the sunshine award on her site!
6. Zaps Lobster Tank because anyone on a 10th rewrite deserves some sunshine!
7. Yelena Casale - she happily just earned her Nidan, a 2nd degree black belt, so here's some more sunshine!
8. Sarah at Empty White Pages because she's musical and sunshiny!
9. Nancy Thompson because she has some sunshiny news.....
10. Sharon, my critique partner, at The Blue Word - because she has sunshiny news, too! 

Everyone can use some Sunshine in their lives and this is such an easy way to do it! 

March 23, 2012

Ghostwriting Controversy

According to Wikipedia: A ghostwriter is a writer who writes books, articles, stories, reports, or other texts that are officially credited to another person. Celebrities, executives, and political leaders often hire ghostwriters to draft or edit autobiographies, magazine articles, or other written material. In music, ghostwriters are used in film score composition, as well as for writing songs and lyrics for popular music genres

The controversy started anew when The NY Times printed this article about a Chef Ghostwriter. A couple of celebrity cookbook writer's took offense to the article because it suggested they didn't pen their own cookbooks.

In response to Gwyneth Paltrow's, "this is my book and I wrote my book and it's all mine," Rachael Ray responded with: "I so strongly agree, this is how I spend the little time at home I have with my family, I spend in front of these little notebooks, in front of the computer. It sort of takes away from all of that to not be able to call that writing, of course that's writing. It doesn't mean you don't value the people who write the glossary or that help organize the pantry or that work on a project, but a writer is still a writer."

Credited to Owen Smith
Does anyone else find this sort of evasive?

It seems to me if someone hands a pile of notebooks over to someone else and says, "Here, you write it for me," that you've just hired yourself a ghostwriter. If you consider yourself a writer, fine. You're a writer. But if you had help, why not just say, "I had help and Thank You"? I don't think less of these people because they had help.

As long as I'm going out on a limb, I may as well say that I believe ghostwriter's should be listed in the credits for these writing projects. Give credit where credit is due.
Are you a writer because you've compiled a lot of material and it's your story to tell, even if someone else is ghostwriting it?

March 10, 2012

DearEditor.Com Free Giveaway

Today is the last day to enter the Free Full Manuscript Giveaway over at Dear You don't want to miss this. Check it out here.

Good Luck!

Go On Now!

Lucky 7 Meme, Campaign Winners, Komal's Giveaway

First, CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of the Fourth Platform-Building Campaigns first challenge. I made it to the quarter-finals and was completely thrilled and honored! Alas, the competition was tough and I didn't move on. There were so many different levels of winners and prizes - you can check it all out HERE.

Second, Thank You to Komal Lewis for her 100 Followers Giveaway. I won fifth place, a Kindle copy of Crossroads by J.J. Bond and a $5 Amazon Gift Card! Check out her awesome blog HERE.

AND NOW.......

The awesome Caitlin at All About Growing Up And Becoming A Famous Author has tagged me for the Lucky 7 Meme! And this is one of the easier meme's. No questions to answer, just post part of your MS and tag 7 people.

Here's what to do:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS.

2. Go to line 7.

3. Copy down the next 7 lines - sentences or paragraphs - and post them as they're written. No cheating.

4. Tag 7 authors.

5. Let them know.

Page 77, Line 7, 7 Lines

“This,” I pointed to the board. “This is just a beginning. We’ll be adding to it.”

“Yes,” said Riley, “that’s true. But I think we should prepare ourselves anyway.” She began gathering the empties on a tray. “I mean, who would’ve thought anyone would have had a reason to kill dad? I don’t trust anyone anymore.”

“She’s right. We need to keep an open mind,” said Simon. We can’t just cross someone off the list because we’ve known them a long time.”

We all agreed.

That's it! I followed the rules and didn't cheat. Definitely not my best.

See how easy that was? And now I get to pass this on to 7 people:

March 7, 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group: Confession Time

It's the first Wednesday of the month. Time to confess our insecurities. Here is mine, and if you want to sign up or check out other member posts, GO HERE.

As a relatively new writer who's still finding her voice, I get confused about the rules. And that's mostly because I see people breaking them all the time, even bestselling authors.

What's good and what's bad in the writing world?

First, there's the verb thing: was, were, are and is are bad. They're weak.

In the bestselling I Am Number Four, by Pittacus Lore, the whole first chapter is a monologue littered with weak verbs, "was"ing and "were"ing planted right on the surface for everyone to see. And it didn't bother me. It engaged me. I wanted to know more.

And then the weak adverbs, words ending in "ly" - they're bad, too. Yet JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame used adverbs relentlessly (yes, pun intended). And it didn't bother me. I find her writing cozy and comforting. I actually wonder if adverbs are what makes her writing "cozy," perhaps because they take the edge off of using the harsher, stronger verbs. I don't really know.

Here's my confession: I secretly love adverbs. A terrible weakness, I know.

But in JKR's case, adverbs worked! I wonder if the first 12 publishers she sent her MS to only looked at the abundance of adverbs and rejected it, without taking in the content! I wonder how many times publishers rejected Pittacus Lore's MS because of the "was"s and "were"s, too. They broke the rules. They're bestsellers.  

So when is it okay to employ "weak" writing?

And that begs the question: how can bad writers be bestsellers? And the answer has to be that reading preferences are completely subjective. If you have a good story and tell it well, breaking the rules sort of fall to the wayside.

So I get confused.

In the meantime, I am scared to use the weak "was" and "were" and I tremble ridiculously at the thought of using adverbs!

What are you afraid of?

March 5, 2012

Creepy Hollow Launch Day!

Today the Creepy Hollow series kicks off with the release of the first story, GUARDIAN!!

GUARDIAN introduces readers to the magical world of Creepy Hollow, a realm where fae creatures both safe and definitely-not-so-safe dwell. Things are cool as long as the fae stick to their own realm. It's when they find their way into the human world that things start going wrong...

1. Receive assignment.

2. Save a life.

3. Sleep.

4. Repeat.

Protecting humans from dangerous magical creatures is all in a day’s work for a faerie training to be a guardian. Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale knows this better than anyone—she’s about to become the best guardian the Guild has seen in years. That is, until one of her assignments—a human boy who shouldn’t even be able to see her—follows her into the fae realm. Now she’s broken Guild Law, a crime that could lead to her expulsion.

The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the boy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget everything he’s discovered of the fae realm. Easy, right? But Nate and Vi are about to land themselves in even bigger trouble—and it’ll take all Vi’s training to get them out alive.

Buy from Amazon US

Buy from Amazon UK

Buy from Smashwords
The Creepy Hollow Series

Author Info

To find out more about the series, the author, and the characters, check out the blog tour that’s happening over the next two weeks.

And there is a GIVEAWAY going on at Rachel's blog!

Second Challenge (4th Platform-Building Campaign)

You all know Rach, right? Over at Rach Writes? Well, the girl has gone a little crazy this time. Lots of prompts and added challenges, so you can torture yourself as little or as much as you want.

I went with three of the challenges (three being an added challenge), each written in the dystopian genre (another added challenge as I've never written in the dystopian genre before): the pitch, 200 word story using prompt #1, and the five-line story using each of the five prompts.

My theme is life and survival in a newly dystopian world, and so I have used water as a strong life symbol.

You can go HERE to check out the other entries. I am #25 if you want to "like" mine.


A blip, no bigger than a tear drop, a tiny hiccup in the earth’s perpetual spin, results in the struggle to survive in a new world and a new society for those lucky enough to find their way to the safety of the bridge.

Under the Bridge

I shifted my position, wincing at the pain in my leg.

“Try not to move,” said my companion. “That cut on your leg is pretty deep.”

Rain water dripped from points off his drenched hair. He had given me the trash bag, first slitting the side and slipping it over my head like a hood, the odor of rotting garbage hugging my face.

The concrete bridge had collapsed, sending pedestrians cascading like a waterfall to drown in the lake of debris below.

I didn’t remember. I awoke sitting here, partially protected under the remains of the bridge, the rusted support beams etching a painful tattoo into my back.

Time escaped me.

“What’s taking so long?” I croaked. “The rescue people – what’s taking so long?”

No sirens blared. No barking, no chirping, no buzzing, no engines.

It disturbed me.

“Where are the others? The other people from the bridge?”

He didn’t answer, only sat with eyes closed, adam’s apple gliding up and down.

It all felt wrong. Terribly wrong.

I leveraged myself up, hands scraping against the rough surface. Dragging my stiff leg, I shuffled to the opening.

Nothing but barren land, leveled, ravaged.

No one was coming.



Each bridge, dark, dank, wet, safe.

Each child, a miracle.

Each splash of water, life.

Each search through rubble, a treasure hunt.

Each energy field, a field of hope.


There are five prompts, four of them are photographs:

Prompt #1:

Two people are sitting together under the remains of a concrete bridge. Their backs are against a rusted bridge support. One person’s leg is cut. The other person has wet hair.

Prompt #2:


Prompt #3:

Prompt #4:

Prompt #5:

Here are the challenges. Do one or more of the following:
  1. Write a pitch/logline for a book based on the prompts (less than 100 words)
  2. Write a short story/flash fiction piece of less than 200 words based on the prompts
  3. Write a poem with a twist using the prompts as inspiration (in less than 200 words)
  4. Write a story/poem in five sentences, each sentence based on one of the prompts
  5. Write a poem/flash fiction piece (in less than 200 words) about the water pear *without* using the words “pear”, “spoon”, or “droplet”.

For added difficulty/challenge:

  • Complete at least three of the above activities and tie them all together with a common theme (feel free to either state the theme in your post or leave us to guess what it might be)
  • Write in a genre that is not your own
  • Ask Challenge entrants to critique your writing. After the Challenge closes, you may wish to re-post your revised piece(s), and I’ll include a Linky List at the bottom of this post for those wishing more feedback on their revisions (note: revised entries will not be judged, so please label clearly your original post and your revisions. Please do not offer critique unless someone asks for it, as per the usual blogging conventions. If you do ask for critique, make sure you ask for it clearly so people know you want it, and please be prepared to receive feedback that may not be 100% glowing. If you are a critiquer, please be tactful and courteous, and remember to provide positives as well as negatives.)