Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Changes


Blog of August 31, 2011

Greetings All!

September is almost here. Autumn in the Midwest is a wonderful time of year. The colors of the hardwood trees like Oak and Maple begin to change from their summer green into brilliant reds, oranges and yellows. September, for me, has always been my favorite time of year.  I relish the cooler evenings, the hint of frost on the early morning grass, the smell of wood smoke in the air, crisp apples fresh from a cider mill, hearty soups to warm your soul, fireplaces lit and blank pages waiting to be filled with your writings. Oh, and did I mention my birthday is in the fall?



As a child I longed for summer to stretch on and on so I could read even more books (my favorite pastime as a child) without the bother of schoolwork interfering. Now, as an adult my summers are no longer long stretches of time I have to fill but a blending of the days so there is no clear mark for me when September begins. Except a longing I experience deep in my soul for the promise that September brings with it. A promise of change. The season will change from Autumn to Winter in a few short months, then Spring will burst on the scene in April and finally, Summer again.  It doesn’t matter what we do or don’t do, the seasons change, the months change, the days change and we change.  I am not the same person I was yesterday, or even the same person I was years ago. Nor am I the same person I will be in the yet, unknown future.

 I try and apply this notion of change to my writing. My characters experience seasons, sometimes in the space of a few pages, they experience change and are either better for that change or worse (depending on the story). If my characters don’t change, if they are the same at the end of the story then they were at the beginning then I am doing them (and my readers) a disservice. Change is inevitable.  It must be otherwise your characters don’t grow and your readers will feel disappointed and disenchanted after they have read your story.

The change can be something huge like the birth of a child, a death, a betrayal or it can be something small like an internal change. YA often involves internal changes although the external changes such as going to a new school or changing schools can also bring about change in your characters. High schoolers and even young college students are trying to find how they fit into their society and what their place is going to be.  They do this by resisting change and embracing it all at the same time! No wonder YA is so hard to write!

·         How do you have your characters change?

·         What books inspired you to change (if only for the space of the time it took for you to read the book)?

Until next time,

Kathleen

Monday, August 29, 2011

Last Week of Vampire Bay Contest



Wednesday is the last day for the Vampire Bay contest. If you are interested in entering and haven't yet just go to http://sandracox.blogspot.com, leave a comment and your Email addie and mention Vampire Bay Contest.
The first prize is a Cooke Lee Bracelet, a Starbucks gift card and a download of Vampire Bay.

Second prize: A paper copy of Moon Watchers

Third prize: A paper copy of Vampire Island

Excerpt:

I gasped in disbelief then flew out of the SUV. “Sam.”

He ran toward me. I jumped in his arms and wrapped my legs around his waist. He clutched me and spun around in circles.

Missed ya, Squirt.” His mouth found mine, warm and firm. My head spun from more than the dizzy circle we turned in.

An angry bat screeched and dive bombed my head. I came back to reality with a thump. “We better get on the porch.” I tried to squirm down but he clutched me and raced up the steps.

Sam whirled around, holding me effortlessly. My boyfriend’s of the lithe variety, slender, not muscle-bound, but strong. “You won’t get her, you bastard,” he snarled.

My heart dropped. “Uncle told you,” I whispered.

“You should have, Squirt.” He loosened his grip and I slid down the length of him. He held me at arms length and studied me. “Why didn’t you?”

I shrugged out of his grasp and walked to the end of the veranda and back then faced him. “Tell you what? I’m in love with you, Sam, but oh by the way, I’m attracted to a bat. Attracted enough, I have to fight being turned.”

At that moment the bat swooped down and hung in the air in front of me, motionless except for his wings. His crimson eyes glowed. I’d swear in invitation.

I hate bats. They make my skin crawl. But as if hypnotized I started to step off the porch toward my destiny.

Sam shoved me back and leaped over the rail and off the porch. The spell broke. “Get back, Sam.” I raced down the steps.

“Stay on the porch, Zoe,” Sam commanded.

The bat shape shifted. The dark-haired vamp stood in front of Sam. And in that moment I could see my attraction. They are so very similar, both tall and lean and powerful.

Vampire Bay is available as a download at Smashwordshttp://www.smashwords.com/books/view/72332

and Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005BCODIM

for $3.99.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Work the Dream!


“You gotta have a dream to have a dream come true,” so the song says. But, it’s not enough to have this wondrous vision tucked under our ribs clinging close to our heart. We need to work it! Not just when it's easy to do but all the time. Especially in those moments when we feel the world is fighting against us and our dreams. Really how rude of the Universe!

But think about this, our thoughts create the reality around us and attract the same vibrations back to us. So we need to create thoughts of what we want not what we don’t want.

Why am I bringing this up? Because as writers, we spend most of our time alone in the private world that we create and drift in and out of our dreams. We are lucky creatures that we can do that. That’s who we are. We are creators of dreams. But sometimes we question and doubt ourselves whether we are on the right path. That's the moment when we find ourselves riding a wild horse known as obstacles. We can ride him easy with a light touch thrilling in the moment with our hearts pounding or gripping hard with our hands and legs afraid to breathe fearing the impending fall.

The point I’m trying to make is no matter where we are in life there are going to be those high flings and bumps along the way. By controlling our thoughts, we can create a better outcome. Don’t you think?

I’m sharing this animation not only because it’s beautiful, but because there’s a hidden message worth discovering.

The Tale Of Mr. RĂªvus from ScriblabStudios on Vimeo.



What do you do when riding your wild horse?

Till next time,
Elizabeth

PS: The painting is mine and it's called "Dreaming of You."

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Time of Hurricane Irene!!!

Sorry for the late post, but circumstances beyond my control forced me out of my house and made me drive 200 miles north to escape the oncoming storm. As I was driving I realized I hadn't posted today and I didn't want to let you guys down. So I'm going to give you my thoughts on the whole phenomenon of Hurricane Irene and how it has affected everyone who lives on the east coast of the US.

Usually my thoughts in a blog center around writing, but not this one. I am writing this in a hotel room in Syracuse, NY. We are here, because it is the first place we found that was not getting the severe storm. We got in our car and without having a destination or a plan we started driving northwest. We figured that would be how we could escape the storm. Before this when I got up this morning, I had been thinking we were going to stay in our apartment area. Last night my daughter kept telling us she didn't feel good about staying where we were. We live about 100 feet from the water and though we are on the first floor it is above the garage. So we are really on the second floor. But there are places near our apartment where the ground is lower than our windows. So if we got a flood it might cover the entire window area. Also, being so close to Long Island Sound there was a chance we would get the storm surge and be surrounded by water. None of that was good, but still I thought we had a chance to stay. In the morning we discussed it and after seeing all the weather reports and also calling our apartment manager, we made a decision to leave. This was a good idea, because we kept track of the weather as we drove and we got emergency updates from our town. It turns out that we got three evacuation notices and we realized we had done the right thing.

As a writer, I wanted to observe the storm first hand, because there is nothing so striking as a natural occurrence. But in the end our safety was the most important and we were strongly urged to evacuate where we were. Listening to these updates as we sped northward I felt vindicated that we had decided to leave. There had been a bit of guilt, since we had spent the money to prepare and we would have been okay. We were needing a hotel room and since we didn't know where we were going it was an adventure.:) I drove as my daughters bickered about where to go. At first we were going from Stamford to Buffalo. But this seemed a little too far to get back by Monday. So even though we had a reservation we cancelled and changed our destination. We finally got a room in Syracuse,NY.

While I'm relating this story about our rush to get away from the storm I am seeing that this is very like my own writing! I am a "pantser" so I just start out with my fingers on the keyboard. I never know where the writing will go, just like our trip. Many times I have an idea in my head and then it doesn't work at all, just like our first destination. I've gone back and deleted things like we cancelled our reservation. Yet the path as our driving path was, kept on a straight line to the end. Yes, there were a couple of detours, but they only added to the experience as detours in writing do. My path ended in a soft bed and a hot meal. My writing ends with a satisfying ending.

The impetus for our trip was Hurricane Irene and our own safety, but the reason for my writing is never evident. All of a sudden words come to my head and must find a way through my fingers. Writing comes easy to me. When I'm writing I'm not thinking. I found myself in this same mode as I was driving on the highway. I had miles to go and the weather was good so I was just holding onto the wheel and in a zone. In the writing zone my thoughts go straight onto the screen or the paper. In the driving zone you're just sitting behind the wheel and counting the miles. If you're lucky you will go in a straight line to your destination. In writing the destination is not only the end, but the finished product. Of course, the ultimate is publishing your work.

My YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor will be published on September 16th as an e-book by MuseItUp Publishing. It has gone through many many revisions and editing and line editing. Now I am on the final lap of its journey, checking the galleys. Soon it will be out in the world for all to read, its final destination. If you are interested in learning more about my book, please check out Muse Bookstore, Coming Soon.

My other links:
Blog: http://barbaraehrentreu.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/behrentreu
Twitter: @Barbehr

Thank you to Sandra for inviting me here and again sorry for the very late post. Next week I will be talking about promotion and how hard it is for a new author to start promoting. I will be relating my own experiences.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Plotting

I'm not plotting to take over the world or anything like that, though that might be easier...

In general, I don't do much plotting when I sit down to write a book. I get the seed of an idea, figure out who the characters are, and start writing. Sometimes I have no idea what's going to happen until I write it; I may have an idea of what the ending will be, but I don't necessarily know how the characters get there.

That doesn't work when I'm writing a series. Right now, I have two young adult series, Reality Shift and The Dark Lines. Both of those are YA urban fantasy, available from Jupiter Gardens Press/Jupiter Storm. I wrote the first drafts of some of the books five or six years ago. When I wrote the first book in The Dark Lines, which was the first series I started, I didn't even know I would end up with a series. I figured The Black Bridge would just be one book.

Then the ideas started flowing, and I had no choice but to do some plotting. I ended up with thirty books in that series. Not what I'd intended. (Book one is available now; book two comes out mid-September.)

I was a little more fortunate with Reality Shift. I planned that one to be ten books, and that's what it ended up as. (Books one through four are available now; book five comes out in November.) Those characters cooperated, but I also had help wrangling them from the friend on whom I based Jonah Leighton.

Right now, I'm working on a new YA urban fantasy novel about a boy who is turned into a werewolf by a sexual predator. It's actually based on one character's backstory from one of the romance novels I've written under a different name. (The publisher gave me permission to do the YA.) Because I'd pretty much spelled everything out in the backstory, I didn't think I'd have to do much plotting.

Maybe I should have plotted anyway, because now it's looking as if that book, which I thought would be a one-off, is going to become at least a trilogy. Which means I now have to plot, because with a series plotting is essential.

Back to the plotting board...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

YA Novel: Entertainment or Life Lesson?

Good morning, everybody! I hope this finds you all well and upbeat in attitude. Today, I've chosen a topic that seems self evident on the surface, but is actually a bit more complicated than one might think. Do we write YA's to entertain our youthful audience, or do we write these books to teach a whole array of life lessons?
Reading should be fun; I think we all agree on that. Getting kids to see reading as a fun activity is not an easy task. Just ask any English teacher who has devoted her life to endless classes of middle grade students, and you'll hear horror stories by the hundreds. As a result, many teachers resort to a host of entertainment-oriented activities aimed at pacifying their classes, if not concerned with teaching them.
My personal pet peeve? Show them a movie of the book and then they'll not have to read it. This takes us to the nitty-gritty of the debate. Watching a movie is a passive activity. The actors do all the work and you merely watch and listen.
Reading a book is an active process; ie, you must conjure up the scene, fill in the setting from your imagination , and transport yourself into the action. And that, my friends, is what we as authors are all about. We describe, from our own imaginations, the setting and circumstances of our book, in hopes that the reader will be transported to our little make-believe world.
I say all this with limited experience in the classroom, having taught English to a few students early in my career as a music teacher. However, my daughter is a veteran teacher of reading classes for middle grades, and acknowledged to be very good at what she does. So, my bloviating here is based on her experiences for the most part. Michelle has a pet peeve; the woman in the next classroom, who bribes her students with cookies, candy, cakes, pizza, and shows movies rather than putting those kids to the bother of reading required literature.
When it comes time to test the students, guess whose kids fare well. Thus, on to my point for today's foray into the world of writing for young audiences.
In my humble opinion, any book worth its salt should do more than entertain. I've just finished a book aimed at thirteen to fifteen year old boys. The protagonist is a high school senior whose dad had deserted him and his mom without a word just a few months before the story begins. Sean is something of a daredevil and likes to take dares. At the urging of his pudgy buddy, he begins a series of crazy stunts that increasingly put him in personal danger, but gain him a reputation in his town.
Entertaining, yes. But it also teaches a lesson that such activity can not only be hazardous, but is not the way to gaining the respect of your peers. There are a few other little lessons thrown in but, if I did a good job of writing, my readers will be entertained by Sean's outrageous stunts and not think they've been preached to. Too preachy and they'll close the cover on the book. Too shallow and they might finish it, but they won't remember it the next day.
Ah, the hazards and the rewards of YA writing are enormous. That's why, early in my teaching career, I chose to concentrate my efforts on seventh through ninth grade students, before I gravitated to senior high and college programs. Those middle school days were the most rewarding of my career as a teacher. Kids in this age group can concentrate almost exclusively on whatever draws their imagination, and they can progress at an impressive rate. That, my colleagues, is why YA writing is critical to the continued development of young adults, again in my humble opinion. What's yours?
Cheers,
Pat Dale










Wednesday, August 24, 2011

HISTORICAL RESEARCH


Greetings All!

Today I am writing about historical research. This is based on part from my most recent YA historical novel, FITZROY: THE BOY WHO WOULD BE KING, which is a historical fiction about the bastard son of Henry VIII of England. Henry Fitzroy (means son of Henry) was the Duke of Richmond (among others) and was the only bastard child Henry VIII ever acknowledged. Henry Fitzroy was supposed to be the heir apparent but died of lung disease at the age of seventeen before that could happen.  He died a few months after Anne Boleyn was beheaded (the second wife of Henry VIII). I did research about the Tudors before writing this book, not much is known about Henry Fitzroy’s early childhood except he was tutored in Yorkshire along with Henry Howard, his boyhood friend who is also the Earl of Surrey. Henry Fitzroy came to court once at the age of six (where he got his titles) and again at the age of 12 or 13. In my book I had him befriend a court musician, Mark Smeaton, who was later accused of adultery with Queen Anne.  But in the history texts there is no mention of this friendship (and why I call it historical fiction). There is a mention in the history books of Henry Fitzroy getting married at the age of 15 to Mary Howard, Henry Howard’s sister. However, in several texts I found that either Mary did not live at court or the marriage was never consummated.

To say I had fun writing this book would be an understatement! I have loved the Tudor era ever since I read my first book about Elizabeth Tudor when I was twelve. I have also been fascinated with Anne Boleyn and her part in history. So, I spent many enjoyable hours researching, writing, editing, researching again and finally finishing the book. It is now up on Kindle and Smashwords.

I have to be careful though. I like doing research. I enjoy uncovering new facts so much that I will spent too many hours doing that instead of writing. I have another historical novel I am writing that takes place in the time of King Arthur. That one is harder to write because not much is known about that time period.  I am now at the point where I am beginning to write the story but I keep getting bogged down in details, like what did they eat? How did they gather food? How did they cook their food (or did they?) What influence did the Roman invasion have on their habits (if any)? What did they wear? Was it primarily a matriarchal society? What Gods/Goddesses did they worship? Were the Druids around then or not? ARGH!!!! As you can see, research is important but when the subject you are researching has little or no information, a lot of what you do has to be based on your own imagination.

I am also in the process of researching another historical novel, this one takes place in the 1960s so the history is easier to find! Again, I have to be careful not to get too bogged down in research and get back to the “real” reason I am doing the research in the first place!

What sort of research do you do before writing a story?
Until next time,
Kathleen

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Writing is Like Sculpting

Howdy!
It's me again. I know folks have talked about writing, and re-writing, and editing, and when the heck is this story going to be finished...
My second novel, Sacrifice of Heroes, is about to go through its last line edit before I submit it for formatting. A quote I found online says it well: "The best stories are not written, they are re-written." Truly, they are. In this brief article, I will relate writing to sculpting in order to give you a better picture of what I mean.
Take a lump of clay and drop it on your table. Ta da! This is your idea. From here, you begin to write, creating an outline, adding more ideas. This is how your story begins to take life. In sculpting, it is where your block of clay takes a recognizable shape. Hmm, so far so good. Now, you start writing chapters, one after the other, visualizing the story taking place in your head. But you have to translate those ideas into words for others to grasp what you are trying to portray. By carving the lump of clay into a figure, adding arms, legs, a head, and adding small features, it becomes more of what you envision.
You stand back and smile. "Needs to be finished." So, you drive through more weeks and months of writing until you are completed with your main concept. "Sweet!...but...it, it could be better."
Ah ha! This is where adding detail comes in. In other words, you are in the editing stage. You look at the sculpture and see the clothing needs texture, buttons, folds. The limbs can be bent a bit more, a more expressive emotion on the face. Then, after several cycles of this process, you stand back again. "Yipee, it is ready!...well, maybe a tad more can be added/fixed."
Now, you have beta readers to peruse your work and add their input. Taking this information, you tweak the story again. Whew, it is finally finished. Yet when your editor gets the manuscript, he/she begins to carve in even more detail.
"What?! You are messing up my work! My masterpiece!" At this point, while stomping around the room ranting and raving over the audacity of this 'editor person' to mess with your work, you forget that they are accomplished artists themselves. They notice the pieces of clay clinging in hidden places, the lack of continuity of the pattern on the jacket, the unevenness of the eyes. In fact, they are making the sculpture the best it can be before presenting it to the public.
So, don't lose heart when you are given suggestions to clean up your novel. Your editor and you are a team, and sculpting the work takes time. But the end result is all worth it. Be confident, be open minded, be excited.
Take care, Nick Giannaras

relicsofnanthara.weebly.com
nuclearfist.weebly.com

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vampire Bay Contest




Vampire Bay CONTEST:
First prize: a Starbucks gift card, a Cooke Lee crystal bracelet and a download of Vampire Bay.

Second Prize: a paper copy of Moon Watchers,


Third Prize: a paper copy of Vampire Island.


To enter just leave a comment @
http://sandracox.blogspot.com/ and mention Vampire Bay Contest. If you don't want to leave your addie in the comment section, leave me an email at sandracox1@gmail.com


Vampire Bay is available as a download at Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/72332

and Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005BCODIM




Mini EXCERPT:


“What happened to your hand, Zoe?” Uncle’s voice was controlled, his face expressionless except for the intense gleam of his eyes as he stared into mine.

I broke eye contact. “I don’t know.”

“Let me see it.” The azure of his eyes deepened as he stared at me. I bit my lip and fought his magnetic gaze.

“Why?” Uneasy, I tapped my fingers against my thighs.

“Zoe, those are fang marks.”

I heard the exquisite agony in his voice.

“You aren’t going to kill me are you, Uncle?” I whispered as I pressed back against the seat. In spite of the toasty warmth in the little pub goose bumps popped to the surface of my chilled skin.

“For God’s sake, Zoe,” he said roughly. “Tell me what happened? What could have possibly happened?” He placed his elbows on the table and clutched his head.

I noticed he didn’t say he wouldn’t kill me. “I dreamed a bat bit me,” I said in a low voice.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Elizabeth Gibson


Please Welcome Elizabeth W Gibson

I grew up in the land of liquid sunshine, golden dragons, and a place where dance and music were gifts to the gods. Where ghosts and spirits sat to dine with you and never, never said boo. Sometimes a sweet breeze whispers my name and I know that little island known as the gathering place, the island of Oahu is calling me home. The mythical stories of the Orient fed my mind as a child and continue to do so in the fantasy stories I write and the paintings I paint. I studied fine art in Paris where the classrooms were the cities museums and the Master paintings and sculptures were the instructors.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Inspiration for my Novel

Recently I was doing a live book reading of a couple of my book’s excerpts with two other authors. After the readings we each had two questions to answer from listeners. One of the questions for me was: Did I write my book because of the current discussion on bullying?

As I thought about answering this question I realized that when I started writing my book the amount of bullying that is now seen was not a factor at all. Sure there were kids being bullied. I think that kind of thing has happened since the beginning of time. There will always be someone stronger who wants to have power over weaker people. But the kind of bullying that goes on today is different. It doesn’t end when you close the door of your house and you are with your family. It goes on over the internet and you can’t escape it. I started writing my novel in 2002.

Anyway, getting back to the question, my answer was no. My first thought about beginning my book was of my daughter, who was going through a few things at the time. I based my main character on my daughter and gave her the problem of not liking her body, one of my daughter’s problems. Then I gave the secondary character, Jennifer, bulimia, which my daughter suffered with until after college. Jennifer bullied my main character, and she made her middle school years hell. But at the time I started my chapters I had only a hazy idea of who Jennifer was and her role in the book. She starts out as a bully and my main character, Carolyn, is afraid of her as anyone would be from a bully. At the same time Carolyn has this envy of Jennifer and would love to be like her. But gradually as Carolyn gets to know Jennifer she realizes Jennifer has a terrible problem. When I started my book I had no idea how the girls were going to interact. Jennifer was just a cardboard character who was there to bring a little excitement to my story. I had no idea how the story was going to go and it unfolded for me as the characters of the girls began to get stronger.

If I had wanted to write about bullying I might have chosen my own experiences with bullying, which caused me to feel singled out at a fairly young age. The actual event of being bullied is probably one of the most frustrating and humiliating experiences anyone can go through. Your self esteem suffers a great deal, because a bully or a group of bullies does things to you that are either violent or wrong. The sad thing is that the person being bullied is kind of in a bubble, because they can’t believe it is happening to them. Many times they are misled and then made an object of everyone’s attention without their knowing why. An example of that is when kids single out one kid and constantly do things to that kid. The TV show Glee is a good example of how that works. The slushying that goes on with jocks pouring slushies at the Glee kids is bullying. Or of course, there is the schoolyard bullying with taunts to do something or the bully will attack them. Grabbing lunch money is one thing a bully will do. Girls get together and exclude someone from their group while making the other girl’s life very uncomfortable.

In my book, the bully, Jennifer, makes three words seem like an attack. Carolyn has a breathing problem and she hyperventilates when she’s nervous. Jennifer latches onto this problem and holds it over Carolyn’s head. She says: “Breathe, Carolyn, breathe” to Carolyn whenever she can. She ambushes her and creates a situation where Carolyn doesn’t feel safe or comfortable. Since Jennifer could pop out at any minute and menace her.

But really, most of that occurs before the book even starts. The book is not about bullying, but it is about why people become bullies and how someone can deal with a person who is that way with them. Carolyn has to decide whether she should keep Jennifer’s terrible secret of being bulimic or face the consequences of going back to being treated as she was in middle school and being bullied again. In a real sense she is actually being blackmailed to keep Jennifer’s secret, which in itself is a bullying technique. But the idea of bullying is not the main idea of my novel. How Carolyn deals with this problem forms the real heart of this novel. But I won’t tell you, because you can read it for yourself very soon.

If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, is being released by MuseItYoung of MuseItUp Publishing on September 16th as an e-book. You can find all details about it here:

https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=203&category_id=104&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1

You can learn more about me on my blog, Barbara’s Meanderings:

http://barbaraehrentreu.blogspot.com/

I want to thank Sandra for inviting me to post here and I plan to come back regularly. Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 19, 2011

YA and School

I read a message board discussion recently in which the participants debated whether young adult novels should include the characters' school. Obviously in some stories it's a necessity; if the book is about something that happens in the school, or something involving a teacher, school is probably going to play a big part in it. But what about books that don't really have anything to do with school?

In my two YA series, some of the action does take place in the characters' schools. In the Reality Shift series, Shanna and Jonah meet at school, and for the first few books that's really the only place Shanna's able to see Jonah very much. In The Dark Lines, I have some scenes in the characters' schools, but school isn't really part of the stories; it's just there because I needed breaks between all the fighting dark forces and people dying and stuff.

Some of the people in the discussion I mentioned said that school shouldn't appear in YA novels unless it's a part of the plot. They also pointed out that not all schools are alike, and that some teens don't even attend a traditional school. All of which are valid points.

I grew up attending public schools. I worked in public schools for a number of years, and my children attend public schools. Most of the kids I've known have either gone to public or private schools, though I do know a few who are or have been homeschooled. So I guess my writing is kind of slanted toward public schools when I mention the characters' school at all.

What do you think, readers? If school isn't part of the plot of a YA novel, should it even be mentioned?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Writing for Kids

Hi! My name is Dale Thompson and I write under the pen name Pat Dale. A native Missourian, I’ve returned to my home state after living as far away as Alaska and Japan. I have a middle grade book, Zach’s Amazing Dream Machine, coming out in September from Muse Publishing.

Today, I’d like to talk about the ins and outs of writing for kids. Because I'd noticed that girls seem to have more books that interest them, I thought I would write books designed to attract boys. As a parent of five, and as a long time teacher, I thought I had the 'book' on kids. Ha! Am I the only YA writer who struggles to make scenes sound and feel as though they were really happening among our youthful readers today?

I’ve written over a dozen adult novels of various genres, nearly all of them either published or contracted for. One of them, a family saga, was 84K, rough drafted in a month (ala NaNoWriMo), and the edited version is 87K. Like it, most of my adult books came together rather quickly.

Not so, with YA. In my mind’s eye, I see my characters interacting. I hear them talking. I can see them acting out my plots. Yet, when I begin to put the story onscreen, I go willy-warts stupid. My rough drafts are so stilted; I can’t believe I wrote them. Is it just me?

I’m not just a self-taught author, either. I’ve taken a couple of adult writing courses, and two children’s writing courses. I had excellent tutors and lots of good feedback from them. I don’t want this to sound like a whiny rant, so I’ll leave it at this. I would like to hear from any of you who write this genre.

Current WIP: Treetop Cassidy: One final stunt

This is a young adult book featuring a protagonist whose father had deserted him and his mom when he was a junior in high school. He’s a dare-devil and takes on dares to do stunts that are increasingly dangerous. Needless to say, he gets into trouble, with his mom, with his teachers, and with his girl. His final stunt is a doozy and nearly gets him killed. And if I can’t fix this thing, it’s going to kill me. One thing; I’ve changed from third person to first, and that seems to help. Hmm…

Comment if you have time. Happy writing and reading, everybody.

Pat Dale

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What Book Has Influenced You as a Writer?

Greetings All!

I read an article today that JK Rowling's favourite book as a child was The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge (I loved her book, The Child From the Sea). Ms. Rowling felt that this book has inspired her writing as an adult. It got me to thinking. What book influenced my adult writing self the most? I have my favourites, of course. Little Women was one, so was Jane Eyre. But, which one influenced my writing? That's a bit harder to pin down. I've been through phases in my reading and if I liked one author I would tend to read everything that author ever wrote. I had someone compare my writing to Anne McCaffrey's once and to me that was the ultimate praise. I didn't read the Dragonriders of Pern until I was an adult so I can't say she was one of my big influencers from childhood but she is the author that influences me as an adult.

I was a voracious reader as a child, I started reading at the age of three so by the time I entered kindergarten I was into older books. By the time I was in third grade I liked to read Shakespeare (and memorize lines from it). When my third grade teacher wanted the classroom to put on a play I suggested Romeo and Juliet. Yeah, I know, precocious of me! I also loved poetry and memorized The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe to recite in front of the class in the fifth grade, all of the verses! I recall reading three or four novels in two days (sometimes in one day depending on the size of the book or if I had school that day or not). I went through my science fiction and fantasy phase, my classics phase, my gothic romance phase, my biography phase, my western phase, my mysteries phase and anything else you can think of phase!
One of my favorite books was The Crystal Cave series by Mary Stewart. I also read anything written about the Tudors, especially Queen Elizabeth and Anne Boleyn. I had a particular affinity for English history and still do. I wish I could point to one particular book and say, "Ah ha! That's the one that influenced me!"

Often people will ask me what they can do to become a writer and besides the obvious answer of "write" I also want to add to" read." Read in the genre you are writing in, otherwise you won't know what's good, what's been done ad nauseum or what might spark an idea for you. This is especially true of YA. I heard a writer of YA say that they never read YA, at all. They don't want to influenced by the writing of other YA authors. That's fine, except, my guess is that particular writer may have trouble coming up with relevant dialogue or a relevant story line. So, read, read, read and write, write, write. Oh, if there are no teens in your life and you want to write YA find a coffeeshop/cafe to hang out at where there are teens and listen in on their conversations (but not in a creepy way!) in order to write effective dialogue.

Maybe, just maybe someday someone will say that your book influenced them the most!

What book from childhood influenced you the most?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Take the Bad and Make it Good

Hey all,
Yeah, I'm late posting today. Too much on my plate today. But in helping out some folks, the situations presented themselves with my brief topic. This will also correlate nicely with young people going back to school as well as life in general.
There are situations you will come across, some by mistake, some inevitable, that you will have to deal with and process. How you handle it adds to your perseverance, as we talked about on an earlier article. But I want to discuss this on a writing tangent...oooh, ahhh. Tell me more!
Okay, I will. Many writers are able to write the heck out of a story due to real life experiences. You can't beat hands on. From playing sports, to surviving a car accident, to a horrific episode in school, take those emotions and put them on paper. I will take this further. What better way to encourage others like yourself if you have dealt with abuse, hunger, jail, and write a story with a positive outcome.
"Well, my situation was not pretty. It came out bad." If you are reading this, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. You are still alive and are here for a reason. Perhaps it is to take your bad situation and write about it to encourage others.
I've been a civil war re-enactor for 15 years. I started an idea on a novel set in 1863. It was easy. For the most part, I lived it; therefore, it was easy to write about. There are numerous instances of situations that have not been pleasant. Still, you survived. Besides writing about it for others, creating a positive message out of it can help heal the past.
So, never quit on life. There is too much to live for.
Take care,
Nick
relicsofnanthara.weebly.com
nuclearfist.weebly.com

Monday, August 15, 2011

Vampire Bay Contest

Vampire Bay CONTEST:

First prize: a Starbucks gift card, a Cooke Lee crystal bracelet and a download of Vampire Bay.

Second Prize: a paper copy of Moon Watchers,


Third Prize: a paper copy of Vampire Island.

To enter just leave a comment @ http://sandracox.blogspot.com and mention Vampire Bay Contest. If you don't want to leave your addie in the comment section, leave me an email at sandracox1@gmail.com

Vampire Bay is available as a download at Smashwordshttp://www.smashwords.com/books/view/72332

and Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005BCODIMLink

for $3.99.

Mini EXCERPT:

“What happened to your hand, Zoe?” Uncle’s voice was controlled, his face expressionless except for the intense gleam of his eyes as he stared into mine.

I broke eye contact. “I don’t know.”

“Let me see it.” The azure of his eyes deepened as he stared at me. I bit my lip and fought his magnetic gaze.

“Why?” Uneasy, I tapped my fingers against my thighs.

“Zoe, those are fang marks.”

I heard the exquisite agony in his voice.

“You aren’t going to kill me are you, Uncle?” I whispered as I pressed back against the seat. In spite of the toasty warmth in the little pub goose bumps popped to the surface of my chilled skin.

“For God’s sake, Zoe,” he said roughly. “Tell me what happened? What could have possibly happened?” He placed his elbows on the table and clutched his head.

I noticed he didn’t say he wouldn’t kill me. “I dreamed a bat bit me,” I said in a low voice.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Helen The Deaf and Blind Baby Raccoon










If you're an animal lover and have an opportunity, stop by Night Writers
(http://sevennightwriters.blogspot.com) and see how friend and fellow author
Kimberly Dehn saved a blind and deaf baby raccoon. Its a feel good story.


Friday, August 12, 2011

"I Hate to Read"

I don't receive a lot of fan mail, which may mean I don't have a lot of fans. I prefer to think that the fans that I have just don't like to write letters, though.

I have heard from teens who've read my books that they like them. One of my favorite comments was from a high school sophomore who told me she hated reading, but hadn't been able to put down the copy of Connection that she only started reading because it was assigned for school. The kids who don't like to read are the ones I hope will find my books, because I wrote with them in mind.

Before I moved to Massachusetts a couple years ago, I worked in special education, which I'd been doing off and on for about sixteen years. Over that time, I'd had a lot of students who hated reading, either because it was difficult for them or because they just plain didn't enjoy books. They had things on their minds that to them were more important. (And in some cases really were more important; who can think about books when they're trying to dodge the knife their mother is coming at them with? Yes, that did actually happen to one of my students.)

One of the frequent complaints I heard from these students was that the books they were given to read were too long. That's one of the reasons my books in Reality Shift and The Dark Lines are short; I wanted kids to look at them and think, "Hey, I could probably read that" instead of, "That's too long, forget it."

From the feedback I've received, I've done my job. The sophomore who contacted me isn't the only teenager who's told me that they've read my books all the way through. One of my daughter's best friends has told me that the *only* books he reads, other than the ones that are assigned for school, are mine.

That's all I'm looking for with my books. Winning awards, getting movie or TV deals, and so on would be wonderful, but if one teenager who hates to read reads one of my books all the way through, I can't ask for anything more.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Please Welcome Pat Dale

After a career as a professional musician and educator, Pat Dale turned to the pen to craft more than a dozen novels to date. A native Missourian, the author traveled far and wide before settling near Kansas City to enjoy the scenic beauty of America’s heartland.

Dale uses musical rhythms and values to write what some would call poetic prose.

Whether romance or suspense is your cup of tea, the author’s endearing and sometimes

frightening characters will lead you into worlds you might otherwise never have visited. So sit

back, pick up a Pat Dale novel, and whisk yourself into those worlds for a few hours of fantasy. You are cordially invited to visit the author’s website at: http://www.patdale.net

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

MY KINGDOM FOR AN IDEA!

I finished editing one of my books, wrote a bit on another one, read, did research for an essay, wrote a couple of paragraphs and now. . . I feel like I am out of ideas. I don't usually have trouble thinking of stories to write, they present themselves to me in various ways. This got me to thinking: What do you do when you don't have an idea?

I began putting together a file folder of snatches of conversation, interesting articles or stories, ideas for stories, pictures I found interesting that might prompt an idea, names for interesting characters, traits of people I've noticed on the street/in cafe's. I haven't looked at the file I call MY IDEA FILE in ages.
Here's what I found in it:
-Write a story about a magical world that only witches can see (uh---yeah)
-Write a story called The Evil Sister of King Arthur (Morgana or Morganese) (darn you Marion Zimmer Bradley)
-Write a story about vampires with a twist, maybe make them sparkle? (Nah, too out there!)
-Write a historical fiction novel, continue this theme in a particular era (is one considered a trend?)
-Picture of my mom in the 1940s complete with hat going to a canteen dance (not sure where I was going with this but the picture is great)
-Picture of my daughter age 3 (how'd that get in there?)
-Pictures of the ocean (too many of these, not sure if it's for a story idea or just because I want to live by the ocean)
-Pictures of the Irish countryside and Irish coast (see above)
-Newspaper clippings on possible murders, deaths (for a mystery-why else?)
-Favorite names: Fiona, Sean, Patrick, Ian, Colleen, Maureen (do you see a pattern?)
-Characters and traits: stingy, evil, loves dogs or other animals, only wears one color palette like pink, hates their job but loves a co-worker, reads all the time, gamer, florist who is allergic to flowers, writer who works in a bookstore (like that hasn't been done!). . .

It looks like it's time to update my file. What's in your IDEA FILE?



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Your Idea Came From Where?

Writers are unique people. How? If a news story flashes on TV, some people will comment on the content. But writers look at it and say, "Hmm...that would make a cool story." Yep, I do it a lot. I tend to get ideas from a variety of sources: music, books, comments people make, experiences of life, hobbies, etc. No matter what others think, if you have an idea, write it down. If you have a micro-recorder, record it. Take notes, build on it. If it flourishes into something, go with it. If not, don't worry. Not all ideas will become ink and paper (or computer text and screen).
My first novel, Secrets Revealed, stemmed from a Dungeons & Dragons game I ran years ago. I always said it would make a cool story, and spoke it for at least a year. Then one day...
I've picked up a word or two from normal conversation, a quote, an existing story, or a news heading and built on it to create story potentials. Needless to say, good ol' imagination works quite well too. You can also take a traditional story idea and add a twist. For example, I read a book (forgot name, duh) that took the Napoleonic era and crossed it with traditional fantasy elements. It had dwarves and elves dressed in British style uniforms and weapons. I still have to get the second book. Very cool.
That is the fun thing with creating a story. You can make up stuff that exists with a twist or create something far fetched and develop an awesome story for others to enjoy. By going a bit further, you can create an entire world that can branch off tons of story ideas. My first trilogy is based in Nanthara (the primary continent in my world). I have two other story ideas in the works as well as a second trilogy developing in Nanthara as we speak. Why not?
Never, ever be afraid to delve into an idea others say or think is weird, won't work, or is stupid. More than likely, those folks are either jealous they didn't come up with your ideas or irritated since they don't harbor your creativity, or both. You have free will with pen/computer to do what you will. Experiment with ideas, concepts, and story lines. You might be surprised at what you come up with.

Take care, Nick
www.relicsofnanthara.weebly.com
www.nuclearfist.weebly.com

Monday, August 8, 2011

Welcome Barbara Ehrentreu

Barbara, a retired teacher with a Masters degree in Reading and Writing K-12 and seventeen years of teaching experience lives with her family in Stamford, Connecticut. When she got her Masters degree she began writing seriously. If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, Barbara’s first YA novel, being released September 16th by MuseItUp Publishing, was inspired by Paula Danziger. Barbara is a NY Literature Examiner for Examiner.com with several articles for them. Her blog, Barbara’s Meanderings, http:/barbaraehrentreu.blogspot.com/, is networked on both Facebook and Blog Catalog. She hosts RRWL Tales from the Pages on Blog Talk Radio every 4th Thursday. In addition, her children's story, “The Trouble with Follow the Leader” http://viatouch.com/learn/storystation/stories/troublefollowleader.jsp and an adult story, “Out on a Ledge” http://www.moondance.org/2002/fall02/fiction/out.html are published online. She is a member of SCBWI. Writing is her life! Contact Barbara: lionmother@aol.com

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Vampire Bay


“Looking for someone, Sugar?”

I whirled.

He leaned against a rough-barked oak, his ankles crossed, his hands jammed in his pockets.

The man in front of me was drop-dead gorgeous. Blue-black hair worn in a careless style framed high cheekbones. The rakish growth on his chin accentuated his dark good looks. Designer jeans clung to lean hips and long legs. He wore a long-sleeved gray tee, that clung to impressive pecs, with a black outdoor vest over the shirt. Expensive suede boots covered his feet. The only thing that ruined his appearance was the red glow around his irises.

His dark good looks reminded me of someone. I gasped and blinked. He reminded me of Sam, a more rakish version but still Sam. With that long lean body and black hair, they could have passed for brothers.

One moment he leaned negligently against the tree, the next he stood beside me, way too close. Nothing moves faster than a vampire. It can be quite disconcerting if you aren’t used to it. My hand tightened on my sword.

“So you are the mouthwatering Zoe Tempest.” He circled me. Those red glowing eyes seared me wherever he glanced. “To think Dere let a little thing like you take him.” He laughed, a sensual sound that made my knees wobble.

“That’s right. Just like I’m going to take you.” Instead of hurling the words like a spear, I had to force them out of my mouth. They sounded stiff and unnatural.

“Zoe, Zoe, Zoe,” he whispered near my ear, his breath cool and sweet like mint and cookies. I swung around to face him, but he slid back. He shook his head. “Haven’t you figured it out yet? You won’t be able to resist me, love. I’ll be both your lover and your sire.”

His voice caressed like whispering silk. It mesmerized as he circled. “It appeals to you on a basic level doesn’t it, being with me?” He reached out a white cold finger and started to touch my cheek.

I jerked my head back. “Who are you?” I pushed the words past my clenched teeth as my body trembled violently.

“Who do you want me to be?” He touched the back of my neck as he circled me.

I shuddered, but whether from disgust or desire eluded me.

“Dead,” I spat, fighting the unbelievable craving I felt for him.


CONTEST:

I’m running a contest at http://sandracox.blogspot.com. First prize: a Starbucks gift card, a Cooke Lee crystal bracelet and a download of Vampire Bay. Second Prize: a paper copy of Moon Watchers, Third Prize: a paper copy of Vampire Island. To enter just leave a comment at http://sandracox.blogspot.com and mention Vampire Bay Contest.

Vampire Bay is available as a download at Smashwordshttp://www.smashwords.com/books/view/72332

and Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005BCODIM

for $3.99.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Techno-challenged

Hi there! Jo Ramsey here, with my first Downtown YA post. I'm excited to be part of this, since Sandra has hosted me here before and I've hosted her on my blog as well. We each have books with Jupiter Gardens Press. I'm looking forward to visiting with you on Fridays.

I have a little bit of a rant to start things off with. Please don't let that impact your first impression of me. I'm not usually a ranter, and even when I am, it's with a bit of humor.

I am a technology killer. Long ago, I had a laptop. It caught a virus and died, because I had no idea how to do virus scans or removals or any of that. This was about four years ago.

The man I was dating at the time took pity on me and bought me a new desktop computer for Christmas that year. That was a pretty good computer. It lasted from then, Christmas 2007, until the winter of 2010, when it decided I was putting too many things on the hard drive. Hubby, whom I met in 2008, cleaned out that computer, gave it to my younger daughter, and gave me his old desktop.

That one lasted a little over a year. About three or four months ago, the monitor, which had always been a bit flickery, started going blank and not coming back on. When that happened, the computer would let out a high-pitched tone that drove me and our cats absolutely bonkers. Hubby tried to fix it but couldn't, so he started letting me use his laptop.

Earlier this week, the laptop started doing the same thing the desktop had been. When there was a display on the screen, it was dim and flickering, and I could only look at it for a second or two. Not helpful when I have books to write.

So I bit the bullet and went out yesterday to buy a brand-new laptop that I'm really hoping my royalties will help pay for. I got it set up all right, installed the programs that I like to have installed, and got to work.

Until a few minutes ago when I wanted to print something and discovered that the laptop didn't recognize that I'd plugged in my printer.

It's working now, but I just keep hoping that whatever computer-destroying field I emit won't strike this one.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

PROCRASTINATION

THE ONSLAUGHT OF THE IF ONLYS

How many people do you know that tell you they want to be a writer but they don’t have time to write? They have full time jobs, a family, a hobby that takes up all their time. If only their children would grow up and be out of the house, if only their job was less stressful, if only their health was better, if only they had more money, if only they’d have more time, if only they weren’t so tired…IF ONLY. Well, guess what? Even writers are stressed out, have lousy jobs, kids, pets, hobbies (well, not so much), watch too much TV (again, not so much), have health concerns, are poor, families that won’t leave them alone. . . you come up with an excuse and I bet someone, somewhere has come up with a similar excuse.

So, what’s your excuse for not writing today?  I’ll share mine. I had a lousy morning, I got all dressed up for a job interview and found out after I went to the interview the person hiring did not think I was qualified for the position. I was barely in there for fifteen minutes. To say I was frustrated would be an understatement.  I have been pretty good at writing something every day but with looking for a full-time day job (which is a job in itself) I haven’t had the time or the energy to write much. I finished editing one of my novels and sent it out to the publisher/editor. I got another one back. I looked at the edits I needed to do last night and decided to “wait” until today to start on them. Why? I was too tired, too nervous about the interview today, I had a headache. . .I did manage to write a few pages on a WIP I am working on but that was it.

Don’t wait for the perfect time to write. Now is the perfect time. You’ve heard it before, the only way you are going to become a writer is to put your behind in the chair and face that blank screen/paper. Conquer your fear and write.

WRITING THE HISTORICAL YA

I wanted to juxtapose my thoughts about writing historical YA with procrastination. Raise your hand if you procrastinate when starting a new work in progress (WIP)? *raises hand high in the air* Yup. Me. I like to write historical young adult novels. My first one took place in England during the time of Henry VIII. It was already a time period I was familiar with so I didn’t have to do much research, some, but not as much as I would’ve if I had been starting from scratch, if you will. Not so much my new WIP. This one is based on a historical figure that is surrounded by myth. Not much is known about this figure’s early life. So, I thought, why not write about the early life? I started doing research on the early Britons just after the Roman invaders left Britain. I looked up information on the Internet, checked out books from the library, talked to acquaintances who knew something about this time period, bought books on the time period, read novels based on the time frame I was looking at and watched movies about this time period. Finally, after months of research, I was ready to put fingers to keyboard (I write using my laptop). So I began my first chapter. Twelve pages in I panicked. I didn’t know enough about this culture, their traditions, their clothing, what they ate, what they did in their daily lives. I stopped writing my story and began to do more research. The more I researched the time period the more I was convinced I was trying to do too much. I got bogged down in the research (cuz research is fun!) and forgot to trust my characters to tell their story. I began again a few months later. This time I got farther, 30 pages in before I stopped again. I don’t know enough. What if I get the facts wrong? I can’t do that (insert word)  in this story, it didn’t get invented yet. Wait! My characters are going in a direction they shouldn’t be going in, it’s not following the correct historical path! STOP! So, once again I stopped. In the meanwhile I worked on other novels so it wasn’t like I wasn’t writing at all. But, in the back of my mind I kept thinking about this novel. What was I afraid of? So what if the historical facts aren’t accurate? This person is a figure of myth and legend, I can pretty much make it up as I go along. It’s just my take on the legend. I began to write again, letting all that research influence me but not tie me down to writing one way and only one way. That was my problem. My characters wanted to tell their story THEIR way, not my way. And by me trying to force them down the wrong path, if you will, my writing became stiff, and contrived. No wonder I stopped writing this story! I began to write it again and now have five chapters under my belt (so to speak). I am happy with the way the story is going, I have mixed in legend with my story but it isn’t all about legend and it doesn’t follow a strict adherence to the legend. I like the way it’s going so far.

Once I was able to analyze why I didn’t want to write this story, I was able to refocus on the story and write. Don’t let procrastination keep you from doing what you long to do. Sit yourself down in front of your computer/notepad and begin.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Can Names Be Important?

Hey all!!
I've posted something about names before, but not here. Have you ever read a book and come across people's names or names of places and thought them weird, not creative, or just plain dumb?
Am I cutting down author creativity? Not at all. But the names of places has to jive with the story. Look at the names associated with Middle-Earth and Star Wars. I know there are other worlds with very cool names, but when you read these places or the character names, they flow, they fit, they sound good. The Game of Thrones is a good example where, even though it is fantasy, the names of the realms and the characters gives a true medieval flavor.
Well, how do you create names? One nifty little tool I use is...my brain. Yep, I make up many of them. But another weapon I use is a "translator". I will take a word like "castle" and translate it into different languages. I will then combine several translated versions until it gives me a word I like, or one that fits the language or world I'm working on. Some of the neatest translations I've used in my world of Nanthara are: Welsh, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish, but I've used numerous others. The method listed above is only one of many methods of name generating.
I know there are "name generators" online. But again, sound the words out loud and listen to it. It should sound good, kind of like tasting a recipe. A chef tastes his food at times, checking to see if it needs something else to make it just right. Also, try to keep types of names consistent with specific areas of your world. For example, maintain uniformity with proper names if you have several realms you are dealing with: one carries common Biblical names, one favors Celtic history, another has Lord of the Rings origins. Doing so will help keep the uniqueness of your world in the reader's eyes as well as helping to make your story believable.
I hope this helps some of you to fine tune your stories into better ones.
Take care,
Nick G. Giannaras

www.relicsofnanthara.weebly.com
www.nuclearfist.weebly.com

Can Names Be Important?

Hey all!!
I've posted something about names before, but not here. Have you ever read a book and come across people's names or names of places and thought them weird, not creative, or just plain dumb?
Am I cutting down author creativity? Not at all. But the names of places has to jive with the story. Look at the names associated with Middle-Earth and Star Wars. I know there are other worlds with very cool names, but when you read these places or the character names, they flow, they fit, they sound good. The Game of Thrones is a good example where, even though it is fantasy, the names of the realms and the characters gives a true medieval flavor.
Well, how do you create names? One nifty little tool I use is...my brain. Yep, I make up many of them. But another weapon I use is a "translator". I will take a word like "castle" and translate it into different languages. I will then combine several translated versions until it gives me a word I like, or one that fits the language or world I'm working on. Some of the neatest translations I've used in my world of Nanthara are: Welsh, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish, but I've used numerous others. The method listed above is only one of many methods of name generating.
I know there are "name generators" online. But again, sound the words out loud and listen to it. It should sound good, kind of like tasting a recipe. A chef tastes his food at times, checking to see if it needs something else to make it just right. Also, try to keep types of names consistent with specific areas of your world. For example, maintain uniformity with proper names if you have several realms you are dealing with: one carries common Biblical names, one favors Celtic history, another has Lord of the Rings origins. Doing so will help keep the uniqueness of your world in the reader's eyes as well as helping to make your story believable.
I hope this helps some of you to fine tune your stories into better ones.
Take care,
Nick G. Giannaras

www.relicsofnanthara.weebly.com
www.nuclearfist.weebly.com

Monday, August 1, 2011

Contest, Contest, Contest

To celebrate the release of Vampire Bay, I'll be running a contest all this month.
First prize: Starbucks Card, Cooke Lee Bracelet (see pic) and a download of Vampire Bay.
Second prize: Paper Copy of Moonwatchers
Third prize: Paper Copy of Vampire Island.

To enter: Just leave a comment and mention Vampire Bay Contest. Please include your email addie. Or if you'd rather not leave your email on the comment section you can send it to me at sandracox1@gmail.com.
~*~
Excerpt:

Amber eyes glowed in the predawn dark. My heart rose in my throat. “Who’s there?” I croaked and fumbled for the light switch.

Brightness flooded the room and caused Uncle’s silver-clawed ocelot, stretched out on the bed, to blink.

“Oz.” With a sigh of relief I fell on the pink duvet and stroked his sleek head. The coverlet rustled as he rolled on his back, stuck his feet in the air and made loud rumbling noises in his throat. His silver claws gleamed in the light.

The average ocelot doesn’t have silver claws. But Oz was born on Vampire Island where silver claws had evolved in ocelots as a defense mechanism against vampires.

Feeling absurdly better with Oz in the room, I stripped down to my pink chemise and thong then raced across the cold wooden floor, flipped off the light, ran back and hopped in bed. I burrowed in between white flannel sheets that emitted the clean, comforting scent of detergent. Oz nestled beside me. Warm and toasty, I fell asleep to his rumbling purr and dreamed…

The bat swooped down. Its wing slid over my throat in an icy caress. I shrank back against the dank black wall. The bat fluttered in front of me. “Zoe.” The voice brought my stomach to my throat. Clammy beads of sweat broke out on my forehead. Dere!

“You thought you’d killed me, didn’t you?” His laugh echoed and reechoed in my head. I clasp it to stop the mad laughter.

“You can’t kill me, Zoe, but I can kill you.”

I screamed then but as in most dreams no sound came out, except a horrible moan that stuck in my throat.

The bat hovered in front of my face. He squealed and revealed fangs that dripped with saliva. I threw up my hands to protect my face. The rodent swooped in and bit my hand. The pain woke me.

Available at:
Amazon.com
or
Smashwords.com