Posts Tagged ‘Writer’

GUEST POST: SHAY FABBRO ON WRITING YOUNG ADULT

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Oh happy day! My good friend and author, Shay Fabbro, stopped by my little pub for her blog tour! Check out her post and leave a comment and you may one of the TWO LUCKY PEOPLE WHO WILL WIN ONE OF HER TWO YA e-BOOKS! 

Now, without further ado, ladies and gents, please welcome Dr. Fab to the pub!!

 

When I ventured into writing, it made sense for me to stick to what I knew and loved: scifi/fantasy. My first novels were in this genre and while there were some tricky things to it, the ideas flowed naturally.

Then one day while getting ready for work and staring into the mirror, I had a thought. Wouldn’t it be cool to have the reflection change to someone else’s face? Of course the idea of being terrified never entered my mind. I stared at my reflection (which only had make-up on one eye, mind you) almost as if I could force my reflection to change. It never did. I thought about the idea all the way to work and by the time I got to my desk, the idea for Dangerous Reflections was taking shape.

Now, for this book, the heroine was going to be very different. Rather than being an alien from some distant world, or a magic-wielding elf from a forest, she was going to be an average, ordinary, human girl. And to add some depth, I decided to have her be a fifteen year-old girl rather than an adult.

Little did I know how out of my element I was heading!

I have never really read much young adult (YA). When I was younger, I tried to read Judy Blume and all that but it just didn’t hold my interest (epic fantasy was the only thing that kept me turning pages). When it came to starting on Dangerous Reflections, I tackled it like I did my scifi/fantasy novels.

And boy, was that the WRONG way to do it!

I had the opportunity to send several sample chapters to an agent (through someone’s blog) and she gave me some invaluable advice. I made the huge mistake of trying to write a YA book without understanding what elements make a YA book, well… a YA book!

The biggest thing I had to deal with was the point of view (POV). For my scifi/fantasy books, I had many different POVs since I had more than one main character. Each of them is important and showing the world through their eyes in a vital component in letting the reader catch a glimpse into their motivations and helps with empathy. Some of my characters seem harsh and despicable until you read things from their POV. I personally think the real world needs to take a lesson in POV; if we spent as much time seeing the world from an “enemy’s” eyes, we may find we have much more in common than we realize.

Now, in the case of YA, the POV is the main character and that’s it. I was making the mistake of adding the POVs of Alex’s mother AND aunt. This lovely agent pointed out that teens don’t care about what adults are thinking or feeling, in real life and especially in what they read. I had to use some creativity to let the possible adult readers (and they WILL care about what the adult’s motives are) know what makes the adults in the story tick. I ended up having Alex overhear (well, more like eavesdrop actually) a conversation between her mother and her aunt where she learns some very disturbing news about her father. And it worked brilliantly! The reader then knows what caused the rift between the mother and aunt, and they then get to read about Alex’s reaction to hearing an adult conversation that was clearly not meant for teen ears. Haven’t we all done that at some point? You get all hot and sweaty and can’t breathe. You don’t WANT to hear more and yet you can’t move from the spot.

I also had to really think about what motivates teens and think back to when I was that age (and it was a long time ago! LOL) and what things were important to me. And it was much different than what’s important to an adult character. I had to dredge up some painful memories of how I treated my folks and times when I hurt them deeply because I lashed out about some stupid thing or other. But that’s the thing! To a teenager, everything is the end of the world and it’s all about the drama.

What books have you read recently that really captured the YA voice and pulled you into the story? Two commenters will be chosen at RANDOM to win one of two e-books: Dangerous Reflections or Twisted Reflections!

Dangerous ReflectionsTwisted Reflections
Connect with Shay on her website, Facebook fanpage, or Twitter! She loves chatting with people about books they love, favorite fictional adventures you taken with a character, or anything else you’d like to chat about

The Lost Romantic

Monday, March 19th, 2012

What happens when you can no longer write what you want to write? I write romance, er, well, I used to. It always felt right to me. It was not uncommon for my mind to drift off during the day and find myself dreaming of romantic gestures, sensual dialogue and even steamy sex scenes.

This past December I had to get an MRI done on my left knee. I don’t know how many of you have had an MRI done but they can be loud, and therefore intimidating, suckers. To help ease their patient’s nerves the hospital offers headphones with your choice of music to listen for the duration of the test. I didn’t have my ipod with me so I settled for a local pop station and away we went.

At first the music was just fodder in my ear. I really wasn’t listening to it, it was just taking the edge off of the machine gun sound from the MRI machine. Then a love song came on, I can’t remember the song specifically but it had a nice melody and immediately set my mind adrift.

I started to picture a woman laying right where I was, listening to music. It’s a song she likes but it reminds her of her boyfriend, no, make that ex-boyfriend. They had just broken up for one of those classic romance novel misunderstandings, but of course, since it was my book it would have to be something more than just a misunderstanding. (I mean really, can’t people just talk to each other and just, I dunno, ask what the problem is instead of just assuming you know and getting all pissed off about it?)

Anyway, when the song is done she sighs a breath of relief until she hears the first few chords of the next song. It was the song he used to sing to her when they were first dating. The song transports her back to a time of young love, hopeful dreams and long summer nights. Her heart breaks again over the loss of that love, of that innocence. (more…)

All For the Love of Shoes

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

“So, what’ll it take to motivate you? Should I take away tv time,” my husband asked with a sly smirk on his face.

I slid my foot into my black converse and started to tie the worn out laces. “Noooo, dad. I have no idea what’ll it take to get me writing again. Every time I set goals or a schedule I never follow through so what’s the point?” I straightened my legs out in front of me and studied my old black chucks.

“What do you think, babe, should my next pair be pink or purple? I’m thinking I need some color in my life.”

“We could set up a shoe budget and every week you reach your goal we can put money into it.”

My eyes shifted to the man sitting on the floor trying to put shoes on a wiggly two year old. I was afraid to make any sudden movements. Does he know what he just said? Is he really serious? Oh my God, think of all the shoes! Not soon after all those thoughts raced through my mind his eyes met mine.

“Ah, I see we have found your carrot.”

“My carrot? I thought we were talking shoes?”

“We are. You know the motivational theory about the carrot and the stick…”

I had no idea what he was talking about and I have to admit, I was still thinking about shoes, sparkly, sexy shoes. Before I knew it his fingers were snapping in front of me.

“Karen! Stay with me, Karen. Look, there are two ways to get a horse to move, punishment or reward. You either swat it on the butt with a stick to get it move faster or you dangle a carrot in front of it to get it move forward. You obviously respond to the reward motivation. Get it?”

I stood up and adjusted my shirt. “I sure do. If I write I get shoes.”

He smiled at me like a proud teacher and zipped up his jacket. I returned the smile and turned to leave before adding, “And you just called me a horse, but if you tell me more about the stick theory I’ll forget about it.” ;)

(more…)

Romance Genre Challenged! Is There a Support Group? by Holly Bush

Monday, January 30th, 2012
Holly Bush

Good day and happy Monday, friends! Today I'm shining the spotlight on Holly Bush author of Romancing Olive. To say that one is a romance writer is no longer enough, there's always that follow up question of, "But what kind of romance do you write?" In Holly's post she discusses the genre and the influx of sub-genres that seem to be taking over. Enjoy!

Romance Genre Challenged! Is There a Support Group?

Let me preface this by saying I don’t care what anyone else reads or does in the privacy of their own bedroom or spaceship.

But the new sub-genres of romance books are downright confusing and sometimes I have to think really hard  to imagine, envision or even process the categories of cross-genres. As I was trolling the other day on a book selling site, I found an author that billed herself as LGBT Dystopian Paranormal author. Doesn’t it get crowded with this many people or vampires in the same bed/coffin? Will the government be watching and take away one of the participants leaving . . .  uh . . .  I’m not sure who we started with or who they had an affinity for.

One part of me just wants to tell folks, hey, read the jacket blurb and see if you’d think you’d like the story. Don’t be hemmed in by search sorting on the internet. On the other hand, there are just so many books out there, especially with the boom in the self publishing world that a poor reader needs to narrow down the 20 gazillion books to ones they might be interested in. So authors try and help the reader along by identifying their book in a variety of searchable categories.  (more…)

You Can Call Me Al by Jeff Davis

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Happy Wednesday, friends! Last week’s featured author, Jeff Davis, stopped by the bar the other day and shared a little story with me that is inspiring, heartwarming and share-worthy. So I asked him if he wouldn’t mind putting his words down and posting the little story on my blog. Here it is friends, sit back and relax and meet a man called Al. 

You Can Call Me Al

 

Looking back on the past year, I can see how much my life has been a whirlwind of random events: from a serious car accident, doing disaster recovery work for the victims of the Mississippi River flood late spring and most of the summer, to finally finishing and publishing Preying Angels and meeting a lot of great people along the way. All in all, I won’t say the year was a success, but I can testify that it was never predictable.

I would have never imagined that during the year I would become better friends with a local contractor named Al. Al and I hit it off when we first met, but when I returned from nine months in Nashville, we really became close. During my roughest times he would encourage me and help me get through them. I don’t remember ever telling him about Preying Angels and my desire to write and publish but it came out sometime last spring when I was still trying to polish, edit, and get everything together. (more…)

Sex and Car Crashes: The Making of Headhunters by Charlie Cole

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Happy Monday and Happy New Year, friends! I thought I’d start the year off by letting my dear friend Charlie hijack my blog for his post.

Ok, lets face it, I’m still hung over from the weekend so anything from me would just be the random letters my forehead hit as it slapped against the keyboard. So, instead of making you read that drivel, Charlie was kind enough to supply content for my blog today. Thank you, kind sir, I owe you one! 

Without further ado, here is Charlie’s post, enjoy! 

Sex and Car Crashes: The Making of Headhunters

They say “write what you know”. It’s good advice. It’s meant to enhance the credibility of your writing, make it sound more authentic. The painful reality though is that even if you were a lawyer like John Grisham, chances are your firm didn’t try to have you murdered. You still have to make a leap from the mundane, everyday life to the tales of mystery, murder, mayhem, undying love, loyalty, and passion.

I came from a background as a professional headhunter. I recruited top talent from competitors. Does that make me uniquely qualified to write about covert government agencies and gunfights?

Hardly, but I came from a home where it was commonplace to spend time at the gun range. My father was a member of a range that was owned by the government, so I had the opportunity to not only shoot, but be taught by the US Marines that practiced there. Nothing like taking down targets at 600 yards with a Remington 700 rifle. (more…)

Where Have All the Words Gone?

Monday, April 4th, 2011

This is something I’ve never had to deal with before and its freaking me out.

Here I sit with my computer before me all ready to lay down the words that have been living inside my mind for the past four weeks. I’m ready to give a voice to the dark haired man with eyes that flash a vibrant blue at unsuspecting women causing extreme confusion and frantic calls to optometrists.

Yet, here I sit. I’m staring at the blank page with that cursed black cursor and nothing is happening. Nothing. I can’t think about how to start the story but yet, I do. Are you confused yet? Because I sure am.

I’ve been talking about the opening scene and following chapters so much lately that the words should just be pouring out of me. I’ve set the opening up in my head that I can see it right now. However, when I go to put my thoughts into words nothing is fitting.

I’ve tried just writing hoping that the words will just come to me; that I just need a kick start. It didn’t work. I felt the writing was so bad it was distracting me. In fact, everything is distracting me.

The woman blowing her nose so loudly that I’m waiting for an elephant to come charging in looking for his mate is distracting me. I’m thinking about how I just spent $115 at Old Navy and how I need to return some things before Sparky finds out.

But what I’m really thinking about is that I’m not good enough.  I’m thinking I’m fooling myself into believing that I can do this.

I really hate thinking this way. So, before I started writing this post I tried writing little exercises to get the juices flowing. Its like the well has run dry. How is that possible?

Like I said, I dream about this story but when it comes time to writing I freeze.

Am I putting too much pressure on myself to write?  Am I comparing myself to other writer’s and their writing habits? Is it because I can’t write everyday I feel I’ll never be where they are?

The answer to all three is “yes.”

I just want to be good, who doesn’t? I just want the confidence to write my story without comparing myself to others. I used to write for me, I don’t know when I stopped, but I did. And it sucks.

But I’ll keep trying. If I don’t these characters will never leave me alone; which is good. Somebody needs to give me a swift kick in the butt. Too much complaining and not enough writing, right?

Do you ever get into a funk with your writing? How do you get out of it? Do you keep on writing every day no matter what comes out of it, or do you allow yourself to take a break now and then?

Books, Books, Books…And Books

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

If you told me three years ago that I would read between 5 and 8 books a week I would laugh uncontrollably to the point that bladder control would become a huge issue. As an English major I would read between 8 and 12 books a semester, so after four years…well, you do the math. I can’t say I hated books when I graduated, but I was under the impression that if I never saw another book again it would be too soon.

Two years ago I was a bored housewife, even though I had a 1 year old. Sparky was working non-stop, which isn’t much different than now. I needed something to occupy my time so I wasn’t distracting him from his work. I used to scrapbook and do crafty things, but that can get expensive and we were on a tight budget then. (Not that that has changed much, either!)

One day I was at the neighborhood Curves with my mom and the women were talking about this one book. They were raving about it, about the characters, the relationships, the intrigue. Ladies and gentlemen, they were talking about…Twilight. Honestly.

I had heard about the book when it first came out and I remember being interested in it, but it was during my “books are evil and make my eyes bleed” phase. Curious again I asked for the series for Christmas thinking that reading a book may help with my boredom. I didn’t have much hope, but I was desperate.

Sparky got me the first one for Christmas, by the time New Year’s came around I had read all four. I don’t know if I can credit the actual story with getting me to read again or if it was just my mind craving words and stories again. Or vampires. I like reading about vampires, yeah I think that was it.

Sparky was thrilled. He could work at night and not have me staring at him inflicting guilt with imaginary guilt darts shooting from my eyes.

Thanks to a good friend of mine I started reading Nora Roberts and that’s when the real problem appeared. I would read her series books in one day. I would read, and read, and read.

The best part? The books I was reading were loaned from friends and relatives; in fact, my cousin and I started a little book club with just the two of us. We’d each read a book, switch, then discuss. It didn’t last long because I would read a book in a day and she would need a couple more days. While I was waiting, I’d read more. I couldn’t stop.

The same friend that introduced me to Nora Roberts introduced me to a used bookstore. Money started disappearing in the amounts of $2 here, $4 there. I got a Prime membership from Amazon and started buying from their marketplace. I couldn’t stop, there were murmurs of going to RA (Readers Anonymous) from Sparky. He was starting to look for sponsors for me.

Last summer, two years after I started reading again, Sparky gave up the hopes of rehabilitating me and bought me a 5 x 8 bookcase for my birthday. The second it was assembled it was filled, and I still had books left over that needed a home. This past fall, Sparky got me bookends for our anniversary. Those, too, were put to good use, but still, I had more books.

The best birthday and anniversary presents so far - bookcases.

At his wits end he gave up and bought me a Kindle for Valentine’s Day. Little does he know that I still buy regular books in addition to my Kindle purchases. But that will be our little secret.

 

My Escape to Panera

Monday, March 28th, 2011

If you follow me on the Have Coffee….Will Write blog you know that last week was a tough week for me as a mom and a writer. I was fed up with trying to do everything for everyone and not having any time for myself as a writer. I have to say that the response I got to the post was very supportive and inspiring, so if you visited the site and commented on my post, thank you for your thoughts and suggestions.

When I was at a complete loss last week, spiraling out of control inside my own mind, I did what any self-respecting writer would do. I turned to Twitter. I posed the question there, then again to the HCWW blog readers, asking them where they go when working at home just isn’t working out. Like I said in Friday’s post, I got the usual answers of coffee shops, libraries, parks to the not so usual, McDonald’s.

I’ve decided that although I absolutely love McDonald’s french fries, I opted for our local Panera Bread. I didn’t pick the best time to go, Saturday over lunch, but I must say, even though I shared the restaurant with 150 perfect strangers, I loved every minute of it. I ordered soup with a sandwich, a huge Pepsi, found a corner table and slipped into my own little paranormal world. It was amazing.

And quite surprising actually. The little table I found was situated by the door and with being there during lunch time, it seemed as if that door swung open every 30 seconds. Not only was the door constantly being opened, but with every person that came in brought a chill from the outside with them. The tables were full around me with gossiping teenagers, hungry children and deaf senior citizens. I did more writing in that crowded bakery then I have done in a quiet house with the napping kids. Who would have thought?

I sat for 2 1/2 hours and I outlined chapters with details, I thought up ideas for blog posts, I ate and drank way too much. No one wanted food from me, no one needed their diapers changed, the dishes were being taken away by someone else and I got to just sit and think. The noise and chaos around me didn’t touch me; I allowed myself to forget who I am and the responsibilities at home and just focus my attentions on my characters.

When I did come home I felt refreshed. The rest of the day I could dedicate to my family without feeling like I was forgetting to do something. There was no guilt trying to balance reading books to my children and writing a book for me.

I’m going to try a library next. We’re surrounded by several colleges, so I may check out them out (with their longer hours it may be more beneficial for me with writing at night.)

So, thank you friends, for being there when I needed you, your support and advice were greatly appreciated! Now, I’m off to make dinner.