Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nicole Zoltack and Jo Ramsey

I'm pleased to welcome two new bloggers to DowntownYA, Nicole Zoltack and Joe Ramsey. Nicole will be blogging on Thursdays and Jo will be blogging on Fridays.
A little about Nicole...

Nicole Zoltack loves to write whatever stories her muse wants her to but especially loves to write YA - whether it's YA paranormal or YA romance or both. There's something refreshing about being able to relieve that first kiss and falling in love for the first time and learning one's place in the world. Her favorite TV show is The Vampire Diaries and she is currently reading the Percy Jackson series.

About Jo....

Jo Ramsey is a former special education teacher who has been writing since she was five years old. The only reason she didn't start writing when she was younger was that no one would show her how to make those little squiggles called "letters." Since a very young age, Jo dreamed of having her stories in books like the ones she read. That dream came true in January 2010 with the publication of Connection, Jo's first published young adult novel and the first book in her Reality Shift series, by Jupiter Gardens Press. Since then, she has received several more young adult contracts. She enjoys visiting schools to talk to students about writing, publishing, and bullying. Jo lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, her husband, and two cats, one of whom occasionally tries to help her type.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Greetings All!
This is your Wednesday guest blogger, Kathleen S. Allen.

I’ve recently read articles/blogs about writer’s block and it got me to thinking.

·         What is writer’s block?

·         What causes writer’s block?

·         How does a writer get out of a writer’s block?


One writer I spoke to said that she believes that writer’s block is something tangible. It’s a block between someone’s ideas and putting it on paper. She suggested hinking of it more as a symptom rather than a disease.   I believe that writer’s block is the writer’s inability to cohesively synthesize their thoughts into a form that makes sense to them.


Although there are as many causes of writer’s block as there are writers here are a few common ones:

·         STRESS-this is a twofold cause, first there is stress about actually putting words to paper and second, there is the stress of everyday life. The first type of stress can lead to what I call, writer’s panic. The second type of everyday stress: How many of us have tried to write after the kids are in bed? Or after the dishes are done? Or after we come home from work? We sit down at the computer and we can’t write a single word.  Why not? Fatigue.

·         WRITER’S PANIC-this can be caused by not believing in your writing enough to put words to paper.  This type of panic goes along with the inner critical editor that tells you that you will never be good enough, no matter what you do, how many courses you take, how much you perfect your writing and so on.

·         YOUR INNER EDITOR-See above cause. Your inner editor is a harsh critic. This is the editor that tells you your work sucks.  You can revise and revise and revise and your inner editor will still tell you THE SAME THING EVERY TIME.

·         NOT CARING ENOUGH-You are bored with your story, your main character, the setting of your story. You can’t face writing another word of this boring, pedantic piece.


·         STRESS-If it is stress about putting words to paper, there is something to break this pattern. It’s called stream of consciousness writing. This is a type of writing where you put down any and everything you can think of on paper. It doesn’t have to be grammatically correct, or have the right punctuation or even make sense; you just need to write SOMETHING. If you can’t think of anything to write about, write a sentence such as; EVERY GOOD BOY DOES FINE or ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY over and over until the sentence reminds you of something else. For example when I write: ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY, I could write about work, play, Jack, Jack and Jill, Captain Jack (Torchwood or Pirates), Jack Nicolson, The Shining, Stanley Kubrick, cinematography, movies, my favorite movies….and so on.  I let my mind wander to where it will wander and I put it down on paper. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU WRITE, JUST WRITE. The type of stress caused by trying to write when you are fatigued is obvious. Take a nap, tell the kids to color for an hour, get up before work to write, whatever you need to do to gain more writing energy. If you only write for 10 minutes a day and do half a page of writing, by the end of the week you’ll have almost four pages of writing done. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s something.  

·         WRITER’S PANIC AND INNER CRITIC-I am grouping these two together because they are similar. You are panicked because you can’t write, you have no ideas and every idea you have is horrible. Right? Wrong. You have a unique writing style; you have your own writer’s voice, use it to shut your inner critic up. So what if your story isn’t perfect right now? Do you thing that your favorite author doesn’t have these same misgivings? One way I like to stop my inner critic is to write a fan fiction piece about a character I love (Buffy, Harry Potter whoever), not with the idea of getting it published, but with the idea that I can put a new spin on a character that everyone knows.  This spin is what’s important. I also keep an idea file, this is snatches of conversation I’ve overheard, news stories that interest me, characters I’ve seen, articles on subjects I am interested in, whatever peaks my interest. If I am stuck for an idea, I go to this file to see what’s in there. Maybe none of it is useable right now, but maybe something in it will strike an idea for a story.

·         NOT CARING ENOUGH ABOUT YOUR CHARACTERS OR YOUR STORY LINE-If you don’t care about your characters, why should your readers? Ditto with your story line. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but don’t write to trends, write what is in your heart. So what if vampires are “over.” You love vampires, so write about vampires. Be honest with yourself about what you love to write about, what books draw you in? These are the books you should write. Start with short stories if the idea of a novel is too overwhelming. Getting short stories published is how many writers get started. Especially if you are writing for young adults, you need to be honest because if you aren’t, your readers will stop reading.  So, if you’ve been working on a story for a long time and can’t seem to finish it, maybe it’s time to put your little darling to bed and work on something else.  

 Examine why you aren’t writing, if it’s work or family or school stress, maybe this isn’t the right time to write, if it’s your inner critic telling you your work is terrible, then turn off your editor and write anyway.  If it’s because you don’t care about your characters, get new ones! I did this for my murder mystery coming soon from Gypsy Shadow Publishing, I edited and edited and edited and I still didn’t like the story. So, I kept the main character and some of the parts of it I liked and rewrote the darn thing. It’s a cleaner story now with a main character I like and I think the readers will, too.

 My advice to someone who has writer’s block? WRITE, WRITE, WRITE. Even if what you are writing is stream of consciousness, at least you are writing. And sooner or later you will start to write again.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Perseverance...You gotta have it!

Hey all, I'm glad to be here and thought I'd give my first, and late posting, about a word that has proven its worth. Perseverance. Without this, you can't succeed in life, let alone writing. For now, I'll keep it short and focus on writing.
My first novel, Secrets Revealed, part of the Relics of Nanthara trilogy, took 5 years to write. Not a big deal, since many authors take several years to write a novel. Did I have to persevere to finish it? Yes, but exercising the definition didn't kick in until after the novel was completed. What do you mean? The book went through a total of 14 edits (about 5 with the pros) before it was polished for publication. Still I pressed.
Really? Wow! Nope, the worst part was before the novel was accepted by MuseItUp Publishing. Thinking my first draft was 'da bomb', I couldn't believe nobody wanted it. After what I've learned, I could see why. It was learning the techniques and rules of writing which was the key. Still I pressed.
I was rejected by close to 100 agents and publishing houses. Still I pressed. I had folks speak against me, behind my back, trying to destroy the dream and direction I was given. Still I pressed. Then, the most recent rejection letters began coming back carrying positive merits by the agents. Aha! I knew my story was good. Now, I'm getting somewhere. Still I pressed.
I have a family with three kids and a full time job as a chiropractor. When will I have time to write? Still I pressed. During this time, instead of griping and complaining, I used it to perfect my skill. Am I still learning? Absolutely. And it paid off when one day I received my inaugural email into being a published author by a credible and award winning publisher.
You can't give up no matter what you decide to pursue. Believe in your skills and what you write. If you write with a message, there will be someone you will touch with your words. Therefore, you must persevere, or all will be for naught. And it will pay off. I am now awaiting my third book contract while editing my fourth novel. I have websites up for the trilogy and for my fourth novel for folks to see and read and enjoy...because I persevered. Take care and see you all next time.
By the way, here are the websites: (and)
Nick G. Giannaras

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nick Giannaras

I'm pleased to announce that Nick Giannaras will be joining the DowntownYA family. Nick is a proud Greek, who is active in his church, is an avid tabletop war gamer and Civil War reenactor. He loves to hunt, fish, paint and dabble in creating Christian music on his computer. Nick lives in North Carolina--let's here it for North Carolinians:)--and is the first practicing chiropractic physician in his family. Besides being partial to writing YAs, Nick loves spending time with his family.
Nick will be blogging on Tuesdays starting this week so please stop by and make him welcome.
His book Secrets Revealed, Relics of Nanthara can be purchased at Muse It Up.
And don't forget, Kathleen Allen blogs on Wednesday.
Cheers, YAers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guest Author-Kathleen S. Allen-YA Author

Greetings All!
I have been asked to do a guest blog every Wednesday on YA. In this first blog I'd like to introduce myself and tell everyone a bit about my YA books.

My name is Kathleen S. Allen and I have been writing since I was eight years old. I began writing poetry and had my first poem published at the age of 15. I then wrote a (bad) gothic romance novel called Robinshire Castle that will NEVER see the light of day. I had my first short story published when I was 17 and the rest, as they say, is history. I have published novels, short stories, poems and essays.

Here are my current books (available as Ebooks and in print):

WITCH HUNTER-(136 pages)-When 15 year old Molly visits her eccentric Tarot card reading aunt in Salem, MA who just happens to be a witch; her aunt takes her to Wiccan coven meetings, festivals and occult bookstores. Her aunt predicts fun. But, even her aunt doesn't predict murder. When Molly discovers a link to the Salem Witch Trials, her own ancestry and the murders, Molly is scared.  Is she the next one to die?

PLEASE TO SEE THE KING-(112 pages)-short stories based on the characters found in English and Irish ballads. Read about the witch who will do anything for love in Alison Gross; read about the vampire who stalks the dark forest at night preying on young impressionable women in Reynardine; read about the noblewoman who leaves her husband and baby in order to be with a pirate in The Gypsy Laddie; read about the woman who loves and kills in Lord Randall. Vampires, pirates, ghosts, thieves, ladies and noblemen have a tales of sorrow, tales of love gone wrong and tales of murder.

AINE-(95 pages)-On Aine's (pronounced An-Ya) sixteenth birthday her Irish grandmother gives her a gift. She has the mark on the back of her right shoulder that signifies she is not human. She is a faerie.

FAERIE FOLK-(148 pages)-sequel to Aine. All Aine wants to do is come back to America from Ireland and finish the tenth grade. She wants to forget all about being a faerie and go back to being a typical teenager. But, a dark faerie named Grianne has other plans for Aine.

NINA-(140 pages)-Seventeen year old Nina's father is accused of setting an explosion at a chemical plant that kills over a hundred people. Now he is a fugitive and disappears into Canada. Nina knows he's innocent. But, when her mom and her search for her father in Quebec, Canada all Nina discovers are more questions. When she finds her father her world is turned upside down and nothing will ever be the same again.

CALLIOPE CAT-(free children's Ebook on Smashwords and Nook)-Calliope is a very, very sad kitty cat who can't stop crying. What is wrong with Calliope?

INTERLUDE: A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES-Stories include steampunk, humorous, science fiction, fantasy, horror and paranormal romance.


LORE OF FEI-YA fantasy, faeries vs humans-Muse it up Publishing, April, 2012

IF IT'S MONDAY, IT MUST BE MURDER!-Adult murder mystery coming from Gypsy Shadow Publishing, 2011

THE CRAZY NURSE-Medical romance coming from XoXo Publishing, 2011

I have another contemporary YA novel I am working on and a historical YA novel.

Please check out my website for latest updates including book trailers. I put the links to each book's book trailer next to the description but in case the links don't work, go to my website at:

Although I write in different genres, YA is my favourite genre! There is so much to explore and the voices of the characters can be fun to write. I had a blast writing the voice of the main character in my newest contemporary YA. I often complete a first draft in as little as two days or as long as a week. Writing is my stress reliever so I get grumpy if I can't write!!!!

Follow me on Twitter: @kathleea
I am on Facebook as: Witch Hunter

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vampire Bay


Still as a shadow, I concentrated on the night. Extended branches, like bony fingers, reached out, outlined against the dark. A sharp wind whipped thin twigs that bent then sprang back. One cracked loud as a pistol shot. Waves pounded a rocky shore with merciless intensity and flung gray plumes of water high in the air.

Over the harsh night sounds, I heard a snake-like hiss. The hair on my neck rose. My grip on my sword tightened.

“Zoe, look out!”

I pivoted on my heel in time to see Uncle’s gleaming saber swing wide.

“Eeeee!” The vampire shrieked just before her head flew off. The unearthly sound set my teeth on edge. Spider like chills ran up my spine. The next moment the head, along with the separated body, burst into flame. The long black hair, on the skull, crackled and curled. Then it disintegrated with a ‘pop’. Phosphorus ash floated to the ground and left a sickly green glow in the dark.

A shriek of unleashed rage echoed through the night and turned my blood to ice.

I spun around and stared in disbelief. My body went cold. “What the—?” The vamp my uncle had just killed raced toward us. “How could she come back?” I could barely force the words past my stiff lips.

“It’s her twin, Zoe.” Uncle’s shout, broke my paralysis.

A woman with that same thick mane of black hair and scarlet lipstick slashed across her mouth—or maybe it was blood from a recent kill—soared forward in a blur of motion. “Murderers,” she screamed her fangs extended.

As she leaped for me, I thrust out my sword. The weight of contact vibrated in my hand as the blade buried in her heart. “Like you’ve never taken a life,” I snarled back.

She erupted in a ball of fire that lit the dark night then disappeared into a pile of ash.

Available at


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Kathleen Allen

I'm very pleased to announce a new regular contributor to DowntownYA. Kathleen Allen will be blogging every Wednesday. If you have an opportunity, stop by Wednesday and see what she has to say.
A little bit about Kathleen:
Kathleen has been writing since she was eight years old. Okay, she hand copied her poems onto plain white paper, paper punched three holes in the sides and threaded red ribbon through the holes that she tied with a bow. Ta Dah! Her first book!
She writes in different genres but YA is her favorite. Find her books on, they are available in print and as Ebooks. Find her book trailers on You Tube. She is on Twitter as: @kathleea and on Facebook as Witch Hunter.
Welcome, Kathleen.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vampire Bay, Third in the Hunter Series

My name is Zoe Tempest. Don’t let this blonde-haired, blue-eyed Barbie Doll exterior fool you. I’m a vampire hunter. I have been ever since Dere, the king of bad-ass vamps murdered my parents and I went to live with my uncle, Julian Kilmer. Maybe you’ve heard of him. He’s a renowned paranormal metaphysical author. But in the world of the undead, he’s known and feared as a vampire slayer. Besides slaughtering my parents, Dere destroyed everyone that Uncle Julian ever loved. In doing so, Dere forged a bond between us thicker than the blood that binds us. After I moved in with Uncle Julian, and learned to fight, I got my revenge and turned Dere’s butt to dust. At least, I think I did. Since Uncle Julian and I came to Vampire Bay on a vamp hunting expedition I’ve begun to wonder…

Available at


Friday, July 8, 2011

It's Friday

Its been a short week. Love it!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday with Winnie

"Before beginning a Hunt, it is wise to ask someone what you are looking for before you begin looking for it." Winnie the Pooh
Hmm, for me its after I've started the hunt I need to ask.

Friday, July 1, 2011

On Vacation
I'll be back in a couple of days.