Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blog Slob

I've been a major blog slob as of late.

Who am I to worm my way into the blog-o-sphere and make great blog buddies only to leave boring blog posts once a week? No way! This isn't me, not normally. I love to blog, and I love all the wonderful...and I seriously mean WONDERFUL, people I've met so far.

So why, you ask, have I treated my blog like it's a dirty kids room that I would rather shut the door on than clean? Well, I'll tell you...

As I type this I have a Christmas tune buzzing in my head and cookies baking in the background.

I love me some Christmas, and I want my kids to love and cherish it as much as I do, so the hubs and I pack tons of holiday, Christmasy, wintry goodness into each day, which, sadly, has left me giving my blog world the shaft.

So instead of scooting by with random posts about nothing for the next couple of weeks, I'm going to go on Christmas vacation. Meet me back here in the New Year (January 3rd to be more specific), if you will, and we'll get this party started 2012 style!

Until then, if you're searching high and low for a great book to give as a gift this Holiday, I would like to suggest the debut novel of one of my Critter partners (she's been there since I started on this crazy writing journey). She is a seriously excellent writer, and I couldn't be more proud of her and her work.
She's that awesome!

So pick up Fearless if you get a chance.

Tasmyn Vaughn didn't expect much when her dad’s job moved them to a small town in Florida; it was just another new school. But there is more to King than meets the eye, and soon Tasmyn’s ability to hear other’s thoughts is the least of her worries. Entangled in a web of first love, quirky and secretive townsfolk, magic and blood rituals, she discovers the town’s secrets aren’t just bizarre, they’re deadly.

And on that note, I'm out!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'm On the Prowl

You may recall a couple months ago I attended one of the SCBWI Regional conferences. Among the slew of helpful tidbits I crammed into my brain, were some things to do to get query ready.

One of the rules agent Tina Wexler threw out there was to READ in your genre. So for the holidays I am looking for some great Young Adult Dystopians. Even better, I would love to lay my little nubblies on a killer time travel book.

So I need your help. Can you all recommend some great Time Travel or Dystopian books?

And who has asked Santa for some novels this year???

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What I've Learned About Myself

Another Turkey day has come and gone for those of us in the US and I have learned a few things about myself this go round.

1) I am horrible at estimating how many people will actually scarf down my orange jello/cool whip salad (umm...not near as many as I thought:)

2) I am all about Black Friday shopping at like 5AM until ? but when it starts at 10PM Thanksgiving night and goes until 5AM...not so much. I'm still trying to catch up on my sleep from that one.
(for the record this is not an actual picture of me fighting in the lines:)

3) Editing is near impossible for me to get done with days jam packed full of family fun. (again this picture is so not a picture of me or my family:)

4) Last but not least, once I stop editing for a few days, starting back is like starting to work out after you quit for a month. I know it's good for me, I actually love it when I begin again, but man, actually making that first move is like pulling teeth. (Now this picture, it's the real deal:)

So here I am entering the writing world after a weeks vacation. I'm starting simple with a blog post. Next, I will try to take a hunk out of my 300 plus emails and then I'm jumping back into my editing head on. I'm so close to being done, I can't quit now!

What about you, is it hard to get back into the grind of writing/editing after taking a break? If so I'd love to know what you do to pump yourself back up.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What I'm Thankful For

You may have noticed my blogging has been sporadic this week. It's because I've been away visiting my dad for Thanksgiving and he lives on this great farm...with zero connection to the outside world. Well, I say zero and that is stretching it a bit, but it is turtle slow. I have to say, sometimes that disconnect from the craziness of the world is pretty great. I can understand why my dad and his family live on their sprawling farm full of goats, horses and dogs. While I love that life, I love the city life as well. There's nothing like needing a gallon of milk and the store being a minute away. Being able to appreciate both ends of the spectrum this week has me feeling very grateful for the things I have in my life and with Thanksgiving right around the corner I thought I would share a few of those things with you.

- My family and the overwhelming support they've given me after I told them I'm on a mission to become a published writer. If they think I'm a loon, they're keeping it to themselves and for that I'm grateful.

- The tremendous outpouring of love and support I've received from my writing buddies I've met through blogging. I mean seriously, who knew you all would be so wonderful!

- My children, my home, my dog, an abundance of what I need. So many out there don't have any of that.

- My husband and his patience with me when I forget to grocery shop or clean the house because I can't stop writing.

- The knowledge I have that I am special and unique in my own way and that God loves me. No matter if the above blessings were wiped away I would always have someone by my side leading me, guiding me and rooting me on.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Whatever you are doing around the world, whoever you are sharing it, I hope you can count you many blessings:)


Friday, November 18, 2011

Another Lie

Yep, I lied again. Lines got crossed with my Firsts Fridays gal for today so last week really was the end of the line for that fun series.

So instead of that I'm going to gush for a second about Breaking Dawn the movie. I was able to see it early yesterday and...I loved it! (Please imagine me singing this at the top of my lungs:)

I am very aware that the Twilight books, movies and even Stephenie Meyer have gotten some major flak over the years, but as for me, I'm a fan and I'm not afraid to say it.

Like it or leave it, Stephenie Meyer has done an amazing thing with all this and I can easily say she is an inspiration to me.

If you get a chance, grab your friends, husband, wife, whoever, and go see Breaking Dawn part 1. They just keep getting better and better:)

Also, while I was preparing to watch the much anticipated movie, The Hunger Games trailer popped up. This is another one I am counting the days until.

What books would you love to see made into movies or which ones have you seen that you absolutely love?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Warm Fuzzies: Week 4 and a Mix-Up

Before I get into the Warm Fuzzies Blogfest...
Last week was my final Firsts Fridays post, at least for the time being. Well...sike! I realized yesterday that I have one more lovely writer to interview so join me Friday for the real last Firsts Fridays with author, Damyanti.

Now, on to Warm Fuzzies. This week is the final week of Juliana Brandt's super fun blogfest. Here is our assignment:
This week, post what makes writing worth it for you and most importantly, post one of your Warm Fuzzy moments. It can be a scene from a WIP, short story, poem, anything that strikes your fancy. Visit one another’s posts and enjoy the writing you find there.

This assignment for me is like taking a sneak peak at Heaven and then being asked to describe it in detail. What words have we possibly invented on this earth to describe something like that?
That's how it is for me when I try to explain why I wake up every morning revelling in the thought of sitting down to a blank screen with just my imagination. It's why I go to bed at night reworking scenes in my head. It's why I wake up in the middle of the night to scribble dreams down or better yet, the perfect words that had eluded me until three in the morning.
It's a whirlwind romance and a long lasting marriage. It's that itch you can't ignore and when you find the spot and scratch it's bliss, but when you can't find it you drive yourself mad searching.
What can I say? I love to write and I love to hate writing. I wish it were more eloquent and fantastic than that, but its really a manic obsession, an obhorent addicition that I can't get get my fill of but I will keep trying.

What about you? If you're a writer what is it about the craft that keeps you doing it? If you aren't a writer, what is your passion you can't go on living without?

Juliana would also like us to post some work and since I am a big baby about posting my stuff I'm going to make mine short and sweet. One line from my current WIP, Ripple Effect:

Her eyes are ablaze and I don’t know who she is in that body of hers, but she wants a piece of me, and not in a good way.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Croddle and the Missing Hat

Today it's time for Jenny Morris' Holiday bloghop! Here are the rules:

Since the holidays are just around the corner, we thought it would be fun to write holiday stories. To participate, just pick your favorite holiday (any will do) and post a story around 250 words. We are going for short and sweet so we can all read each entry.

If you are interested in signing up or reading the other entries go HERE to do so.

I have had so much fun doing this because it got me all kinds of excited for my favorite holiday, which is Christmas. And without further ado here is my story about:


Mackenzie lay in bed, her heart beating so hard against her chest she could see it raise her fuzzy red and green Christmas pajamas. Tomorrow Croddle, Santa’s elf, would finally be here again to watch over her until Christmas morning. She couldn’t wait to see what tricks he had up his sleeve this year.

Mackenzie’s favorite part about Croddle visiting was when her and her family went on their holiday trips. She was giddy thinking about getting to watch out the car window for a glimpse of that sneaky elf flying through the clouds as he rushed ahead to hide from them.
She giggled at the memory of the year before when she jumped out of the car on the heels of her dad (he always wanted to find Croddle first) in search of her elf, and found his tiny red hat in the hotel lobby.
Croddle was such a trickster. Mackenzie’s mom told her he was probably playing one of his silly games and to go look in the bathroom for him, but when she went to check he wasn’t there. Her mom never was very good at finding Mackenzie’s elf.
When Mackenzie walked out of the bathroom she spotted him right away. Would you believe that goofy ole' Croddle was hiding in plain sight on the lamp right next to her parents? They must have looked so hard they’d fallen into a heap on the bed and didn’t notice Croddle right there. And he’d found his hat too.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Firsts Fridays: Author, Elizabeth Sharp

I’m excited and sad for today's Firsts Friday. I’m happy because I am getting to interview Elizabeth Sharp, author of Natural Selection. Let me tell you, I read this book in one day…page turner for sure, and it’s her first published book! Yay for Elizabeth!

I’m sad because I have decided to close the door for the time being on Firsts Fridays. I have gotten to know so many wonderful people through it and learned even more. But all good things must come to an end and with the holidays around the corner I feel its time. This isn’t to say it's gone forever, but it is gone for now.

 Enough of that, lets get to know Elizabeth Sharp and see what 'First' writing magic she can teach us.

DB: Hi Elizabeth, thanks so much for stopping by Firsts Fridays while you’re doing your blog tour!

ES: Thank you for having me. I’ve been overwhelmed with the positive experience this tour has been. J

DB: For starters could you tell us about you and how you became a writer?

ES: I was always a storyteller, so when I learned to read and write, it was a natural progression to start writing. I suffered with self-esteem issues in high school (and really, who doesn’t?) and through my writing I was able to express things I never could have without it. It took a long time to get serious about writing though, and I don’t know precisely what changed. Maybe it was a combination of having a really good idea at the same time I was invited to join an amazing writer’s group on Facebook. From then on everything just fell into place and my dream of publishing became a reality.

 DB: Ugh, high school can be so hard, but it sounds like your struggles ended up being a real blessing for you.

Natural Selection is your first book you’ve had published. Can you tell us a little about it?

 ES: It is my first published book. It follows the story of Amelia, a girl who isn’t the normal human she’d always thought. As she starts to discover who and what she is, things start changing very quickly for her. While she comes of age, she is thrust into the center of a terrifying mystery that could cost her and her whole family their lives.

DB: I had so much fun reading this book! I can’t wait until you release Second Nature, the second book in the series.

You published it through 4 Corners Press, a small publisher. Why did you decide to go that route and do you see yourself sticking to this method?

ES: Honestly, I am one of the founding members of 4 Corners. I had intended to self-publish, but after some casual joking one day about how some of us with different talents should band together to create our own publishing company, things started to fall together and that’s exactly what we did. I am the cover artist. As a part owner of the company, I have a feeling I’ll be publishing through them for a while. ;)

DB: Well isn’t that cool! And what a big endeavor!

As you mentioned above, you are also an artist having done your cover and others. For those interested are you available to do more and if so how can someone reach you about this?

ES: I honestly couldn’t tell you whether I love creating covers or writing more. I have a website for my cover designs, including some premade covers and some samples of others I’ve done. Anyone who’s interested can contact me through the contact form on the site,

DB: Where do you see yourself taking your writing in the future? Let’s say the next five years.

ES: Honestly, I just hope the world loves what I create as much as I like creating it. I would like to expand myself, write a little darker, maybe master suspense. But I’d be content in five years to just still be putting out quality work and have a reliable fan base who love to read it.

DB: Sounds like some great plans!

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by! You rockJ

ES: So do you. J

If you’d like to learn more about Elizabeth Sharp, her publishing company and/or her cover art, go HERE.

And that’s it folks. Firsts Fridays outJ

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Warm Fuzzies: Week 3- Poor Poor Characters

This week on Warm Fuzzies brought to you by the luverly Juliana Brandt, we are talking about how lucky we are to be writers and not our characters. Sure they often walk away with this new appreciation for life, love and happiness but the CRAP they have to go through. Come on! Are we sick and sadistic or what?!

These are the rules for week 3 in Juliana's words:
This week, take a moment to look at the trouble you get your MC into. How do you kick them while they’re down? Without revealing too many secrets about your WIP- take us through your MC’s arch.
The challenge for this week is to visit as many blogs as you can and based on their exert/summary, come up with a title for their WIP. Your title can be funny or serious, whatever you’d like. The best title will win one of my hand-made journals.

It's not to late to be a part of it, just click on the Warm Fuzzies button above to get started:)

As for my character and the you-know-what I put her through....
-She is born into a society where time travel is as common as flying in an airplane. Cool right? Except when people travel back in time and change things (namely the government who's all about changing the past to make a Utopian future) she is the only one who remembers the way things were before the change.
-Not only that but when these Ripples in time occur they make her all kinds of sick and they alter long time friends and loved ones personalities or make it as if they don't exist at all.
-Her world is blown up, killing everyone she ever loved.
-She discovers she can travel through time on her own but can't navigate too well in the beginning so has some pretty bad spills. Lucky for her she heals fast.
-She keeps running into a totally hot guy when she travels through time but for some reason he doesn't want to have anything to do with her
-She's attacked by wolves
-Thrown into a mental hospital
...and all that is just in the beginning.
I guess the saying we hurt the ones we love the most can apply here. Because I love my protag like she's my best bud. So I'll say it again. We are some sick sadistic people us writers.

What about you, do you put your main character through the crapper only to have them better for it in the end?

(This is for Juliana's eyes) +20 points:)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


#Wipmadness Participant!
I have just joined up with the ever inspiring #wipmadness group. The mastermind of it all? Angelina Hansen.  You may have seen the hashtag on Twitter, if not you should check it out!
Amazing goals are set and a host is picked every month to have Monday accountability posts. This month Lora Rivera is hosting on her site so if you are needing some major motivation with your WIP, I highly suggest heading over there.

What about you all? Where are you at with your WIP goals?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Firsts Fridays: Author, Mark Boliek and Giveaway!

Today’s Firsts Fridays guest Mark Boliek had a dream and went against the grain to follow it. He has recently published his first book, The Mahogany Door and his story is one I think can help any dreamer at heart.

DB: Mark, thanks so much for being here!

MB: Thank you for having me, Deana. I love following your escapades on your blog. I wish I had as much energy as you do!  Even with the little ones!
DB: HA! And here I am thinking I’m a lazy bum who just writes all the time. Thanks for the compliment.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your book, The Mahogany Door?
MB: I was born in North Carolina and have lived here most of my life. I’m 41 years old and am a SAS programmer by trade (Google “SAS” if you are interested). I was in the Navy during the later part of the 80’s and served during Operation Desert Storm. I have a pretty uneventful life – though I like to think that it is. I am married and live with twin orange tabby cats (they remind me of the two Valociraptors from Jurassic Park as I sometimes notice them – when they are not sleeping - thinking of ways to kill me), and a six month old Scottish Terrier (I thought I was stubborn).

The Mahogany Door is the first in a trilogy called “The Bruinduer Narrative.” It is a story of 3 friends separated by tragedy when they were younger and have to go back to the fantasy world called Bruinduer through a mahogany door and save it from collapse. It also comes with a cool original music soundtrack.

DB: I think this is the perfect opportunity to tell the world…or my readers at least that I read the book and listened to the sound track as well (which if I’m correct, Mark did most of too) and wow. This guys got some talent. The book carries you away on an adventure and you begin to really feel for the characters. I thought it was very interesting how Mark was able to mix adult lives into a children’s story and still make it relevant by the way the story was told.
The music I actually listened to before I read the book and it really geared me up and set the tone for this book. It was haunting and fun and I really enjoyed both the music and book!
Also, Mark will giving away a box set of his book and cd. As always, if you want it let me know in the comments section and I will pick the winner next Friday!
I read that it was published by Split Rail multimedia, which you are the founder. Can you tell us why you went this route rather than the get-an-agent-get-a-publisher or the e-pub route?
MB: There are 2 e-Book versions of the book. There is the ‘regular’ e-Book which can be found at Amazon, B&N, and iBooks, but there is also an enhanced version of the e-Book for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch at the iBook store that contains the embedded soundtrack (it is so cool – there is a video on my facebook page!/photo.php?v=2074203611925).

I went the self route – AT FIRST – because there are so many cool books and authors out there that it is very difficult to get your foot in the door with an agent. I created the publishing company so that I can get a name for myself (no matter how small that might be) and prove that I am willing to do what it takes to be a successful author (it is very difficult as you may well know). I have started locally and pushing the book out from there to create a reading base, and agents I think, may look a little longer at an author with a platform - maybe. Local indie bookstores are amazing and can really help a first time author get a little publicity. Check this pic out of my book on the shelf at “The Regulator” in my hometown of Durham, NC –

It’s right along there with some pretty cool and popular books, and sometimes seeing it there makes doing it by myself (of course I had a lot of help from others) worth it, because who knows if I will ever get an agent and see the book published in a major house otherwise. (I also like to think the quality is right there too – but I am biased)

DB: I commend you! This route is a ton of work I hear but really can pay off in the long run. I just finished reading the third book of a series that just went this route and she got an agent after the fact. It definitely does happen.
Do you see yourself sticking with this method of publishing?

MB: That is a big NO. The endgame is definitely to get an agent and go the “traditional” route – whatever that might be now-a-days.  I do, however, want to help other authors get a feel for what the publishing industry is like. If nothing else, I can answer a LOT of questions about how to get a book on the shelf.  As I work on the second book and soundtrack, my focus is now more on getting an agent – though I still love doing local book signings – I have 2 scheduled through Dec 10th.

DB: I’m rootin’ for you Mark!
I also read that you didn’t begin writing until after 9-11. Have you always wanted to write or was this the first time you tried it?

MB: I took creative writing classes in college and have been messing around with The Mahogany Door since about 1996, but wasn’t really serious about writing until after 9-11, that is when the story became a little more personal to me. I played football when I was growing up, so sports were more important to me. In a recent interview, the interviewer stated I look more like an NFL linebacker than a writer. That is very true, and I never expressed my creative side while playing sports – in some ways it was looked down upon by my fellow teammates. Writing, especially after 9-11, became a therapeutic exercise more than anything else – and I also learned not to care what others thought.

DB: Kudos to you for having the courage to do what you really loveJ
Your book is a great read as I said before, and I am wondering how you came up with your idea?

MB: Being from NC, we have been blessed with both the beach and the mountains – and I enjoy both, but love the beach more. I basically grew up on the North Carolina shore, and one day in 2002, I took a trip to the Biltmore House ( in the mountains and fell in love with the big old mansion – the only thing I could have wished more was that it was at the beach. I walked around and imagined what it must had been like to be a kid growing up in this wonderful house – WOW - the adventures they must have had. I dusted off my originals of the story, took the Biltmore House and stuck it on the beach and away I went with the story.
After 3 drafts about the beach, the mansion, and my characters, I realized that I was writing a story about my own life. It sort of just hit me that way. I could see that the tale was full of symbolism and things that had happened to me – forgetting about my childhood due to tragedy (the character JT), wanting to forget about some of the bad things that had happened to me (the character Kali), getting older and then wanting to go back to a more simpler when the responsibilities weren’t so tough (the character Michael), getting stuck and not able to move forward with my life due to some of the choices I had made (the character Charlie), and then realizing that I had pushed God out of my life and perceiving Him as a vindictive monster (the character Billy). I also put the events of 9-11 (allegorically of course) in the story because it had such a profound impact on me. Like the old cliché, I guess I wrote about what I knew.

DB: And that seems to be what we doJ
What can you tell us about the soundtrack?

MB: I got the idea for the soundtrack because I have a songwriting streak in me and a fascination with sound engineering. My wife also has a Master’s in Music. At first I just wanted a song to stick on the website just to have something besides a silent page, but after riding around with my brother-in-law Scott, who had a pivotal role in the project, we decided to put the album together. I think during the whole process this was the most fun we had. I would be lying if I told you there was no stress involved, but it was a great learning experience, and my family (including our wonderful friends) has some pretty cool music to play at parties and say, “that’s us singing and playing!” The reaction is always – “Really?” our answer – “really, really.”
“Goodbyes” is the most special song on the soundtrack. I wrote that song thirteen years ago after a terrible divorce and other things. I found a poem in my sister’s diary and put it to music. I really think just wanting to hear that song recorded motivated me to write the other songs for the book. It is also beautifully sung by Katie Basden, one of my wife’s former students. She also wrote, sings, and graciously allowed me to use “Rear View Mirror.” (you can listen to the full soundtrack here:  it is also on Spotify (just search “The Mahogany Door” and can be downloaded at iTunes, Amazon MP3, Walmart, Napster – and most other mp3 sites)

DB: Very cool!
Where do you see yourself and your writing five years from now?

MB: I would like to see myself as maybe the minor league of publishing and writing. Professional teams in baseball have their farm teams that develop their players. I’d really like to see myself maybe like that with authors. I’d love to help authors write and produce songs for their books if they want and maybe do enhanced e-Books – it is just going to be common that publishing is going more interactive. I’d also like to be finished with the trilogy and two more soundtracks – maybe with an agent – who knows – I might win the lottery and not worry about it. J
DB: You’re awesome Mark, thanks for the interview!

MB: Thank you Deana – I can’t express enough thanks to you for having me today!

People can buy the printed version in NC at (can call and order as well) The Regulator in Durham, NC, Quail Ridge Books (special box set $27.99) in Raleigh, NC The Moravian Book store in Winston Salem, NC and Chambers Arts in Cary, NC – people can also buy the book from my website at (the book and CD (included) will be on sale for $12.99 – free shipping) .

That’s a pic of me at a book signing posing with a reader and the box set (it is a handcrafted box that comes with the book, CD, and bookmarks) If you were interested.
And I think that about does it for this week!

Until next time…
Keep learning. Keep writing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Warm Fuzzies Week 2 and Killer Character Winners

The Killer Characters Blogfest has come to an end and I have to say every entry was wonderful. Emily and I had a hard time picking winners but finally we did. Thanks to all those who participated!


The winner of POSSESSION is Jen from Jen's Bookshelf!

The winner of a 5-page critique from Elana Johnson is Jessie Humphries from B-Word!

And the winner of the 10-page critique from Elana Johnson is Tasha Seegmiller!

Congrats you all!

And now for...

This week, Warm Fuzzies will cater to those of us who are completely possessive over our WIPs and don’t want to give anything too telling away. Instead of posting something intimate about our writing, post a picture or piece of music that describes your WIP.

For those of you that know me, I love to call on my readers for help so I don't know that I so possessive over my work that I don't share, but I do love pictures to inspire my work.

I have two in particular that I use to inspire me with my current WIP, but I chose this one to post:

I'd love to hear your guesses on what it's about based on this picture (and no cheating by reading previous posts:)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Logline--Take two and First 250 words

So tomorrow is the Bakers Dozen entry deadline and I am pleading for a little end-of-the-line help. I have my log line below with two possible endings and my first 250 words and once again my mind is mush and some crit love is much needed. Whatever you can give would be great!

Logline ending 1:

Seventeen –year-old Kali Addison is time. So when her father’s time machines are incinerated making her the sole time machine on earth, she is hunted by a corrupt government who wants to reproduce her and anti-time travelers who want her dead. If either of them get their hands on her before she remembers how to use her powers to protect herself, then its times up—for everyone.
Logline ending 2:
Seventeen –year-old Kali Addison is time. So when her father’s time machines are incinerated making her the sole time machine on earth, she is hunted by a corrupt government who wants to reproduce her and anti-time travelers who want her dead. If either of them get their hands on her before she finds and destroys them, then its times up—for everyone.
I am looking for ending help as well as your thoughts on the logline.

Now for the first 250 words:
Picking at my fingers is an art form.  I start by prodding the side skin around my nail until it lifts enough for my teeth to yank it away. This calms me until the pain comes, which it always does.  I don’t like pain.  It reminds me too much of my life so I move on to biting the actual nails, chipping away until all that’s left of my fingers are angry red stumps.
I do this now watching my friends goof off in a line that snakes around a side wall leading to a check point, which, beyond that, leads to further lines and check points.
The endless foray and clusters of people whispering in hushed tones in the starch white building aren’t enough to make my friends shut their pie-holes for once. Greer has to pull Sages hair in a playful manner and she has to love tap him back while Flip laughs out loud at them both, not concerned one bit about the on-lookers dumbfounded glances in their direction.
I break from biting my nails long enough to duck my head when Flip calls me out in that pompous way he’s so good at. “So Kali, where you takin’ us?”
He did that on purpose. Jerk. He wants people to know I’m here, using my father’s time machine to travel. The last thing I want is a bunch of paparazzi swarming us. It’s why I wear the stupid bumble bee glasses and ball cap. But it’s the only thing he wants and when Flip’s around, it’s all about him.

That's it! Thanks for all your help:)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Firsts Fridays: Author Nadja Notariani and Killer Characters Day 3

UPDATE: We've got ourselves a winner for Nadja's e-book, Claiming the Prize. Congrats to ANGELA BROWN! Nadja will be contacting you shortly:)

First off, today is the final day for the Killer Characters Blogfest! If you want to spill the beans on who your fave antagonist is and maybe win a prize, go HERE! Read after the First Fridays interview to see who mine is.

Today’s Firsts Friday’s guest is a busy gal having just finished up a very creative blogfest called The Rule of Three, as well as recently publishing her first novel. Let’s see how Nadja Notariani can help us as she celebrates a first in her life.

From an early age, stories filled with adventure and romance captivated my imagination. Now I have become the storyteller.

Nadja Notariani

DB: Hi Nadja! Welcome to First Fridays and thanks for being hereJ

You have just published your first novel, Claiming the Prize. Can you tell us a little bit about the book and how you came up with the idea?

NN: Claiming The Prize is my first novel, published on 01 September, 2011. I still have trouble believing it! Ha.

The novel centers around Drago Zadrovec, a mixed-martial-artist from Slovakia who travels to the United States to train in an exclusive gym. Drago intends to fight his way to the light-heavyweight title, but he gets more than he bargained for when he meets Grace Antolini, daughter of the legendary trainer he signs on with. Of course, romance blooms. However, Drago and Grace are unique characters. They have definite ideas about love and life that add a balance to their passion. Claiming the Prize makes me smile.

I suppose the idea of a fighter, and his ensuing fighting career, isn't what one normally thinks of when conjuring a romance. Well, unless you're me! I liked the duality of the character, Drago. MMA is a brutal sport, but under those fighters are real men. I have three sons, all folk-style wrestlers, and one who trains in mixed-martial-arts. I've watched so many practices, tournaments, and matches! I'm a great fan. Through watching my boys and discovering how much they have to sacrifice to participate successfully in this sport, my admiration grew considerably. Voila! The idea for the novel was planted.

DB: Your novel sounds very unique.  Who doesn’t love a romance mixed up with some crazy fighting?

Also, Nadja is giving away an e-book of Claiming the Prize. Read after the interview for details.

What about you, how long have you known you wanted to write and what kind of writer are you, a plotter or a pantster?

NN: I've been an avid reader since I could read. I devour books. What's better than getting lost in the desert while sipping sweet tea on the breezy side porch? What's more exciting that trailing a kidnapper from behind a locked door? Hunting vampire? I do it all the time from my comfy chair!

DB: Not much compares to it!

NN: This love of the story – combined with the over-active imagination I have – inspired me to attempt my own stories. I always had thoughts like, “Oh! The heroine should say this...or do that...or go here...or ...” well, you see. I'm tickled that I did! Writing is the best fun I've had yet!

Now...I didn't have a clue where I was going exactly when I began Claiming The Prize. I absolutely pantsed my first novel, writing scenes out of order and following the muse as it skipped merrily around my brain. No more of that for me. I'm an organized sort of person. Very organized. Outlining is the way for writing and me to get on splendidly. I need a map to keep that overactive imagination from veering off the storyline. Ha. For me, the outline is like a guardrail dotted with reflective lights - for when I'm plowing through a hazy/foggy/dark part of the story.

DB: I’ve tried both routes too. It is plotting all the way for me now too.

What route did you decide to take to publish your book and how has the experience been so far?

NN: Before I had written half of Claiming The Prize, I had decided to indie publish. Being a bit of a control freak...(No, you say...But, yes, 'tis true. )... indie publishing offered me complete control over my work. I liked the idea of being part of each step in the process. The writing, the editing, the corrections, the cover design, the promotion – all come from me. I find this extremely satisfying as I'm also a task-oriented person. Each step enabled me to enjoy a sense of accomplishment instead of being tossed along in the ocean waves of traditional publishing. No waiting for someone to find my book idea as fantastic as I ...No accepting a cover I didn't want...No edits that fundamentally changed my story (although I cannot stress enough how important it is to get beta reader opinions and to use their thoughts, suggestions, and ideas to sharpen your writing – and to get yourself an editor)

 Keep in mind, however, that indie publishing is also scary! It's learning on the job for sure. I needed every ounce of self-confidence I could muster to take on formatting. I needed to follow my gut with my story – and then be prepared for whatever that meant, whether good or bad. (Thankfully, it's been overwhelmingly positive...whew! :) I've made some mistakes. But that's okay! How else can we learn but by doing? When we fail to learn, we fail to grow. When we fail to grow, we wither. We decay. We die.

I chose the option that was best for me. Each of us must weigh the pros and cons and make an informed decision that fits where we are at the time.

DB: I totally agree! Us writers are all so different. I think it’s wonderful to have as many options as we do to get our work out thereJ

NN: Oh! Do I have plans! (smiles like a Cheshire cat) In five years, my goal is to have at least eight novel length works published. I'd like to be selling a minimum of 50 books per day. (that would put me at the earnings of a median income wage in the United States) And, I'd love to have laid a solid foundation for my business platform. As for the how-to...well, I'm learning as I go. I'm in stage one, which is building my library, growing in my craft, and gaining readers. I'll be studying up on marketing techniques, gleaning information from fellow indie authors, and applying the golden rule to all I meet.

DB: Awesome plans!

Tell us anything! It can be about you, your writing; something fun…the choice is yours.

NN: My sister and I (I have four sisters and four brothers...;) once took a personality test on the computer. The results promised to match you up with your best movie/cartoon characters, so we thought it would be a hoot and delved right in, imagining our perfect match know.

We received our results, and while I cannot argue with them, as we both laughed our 'unmentionables' off at how 'right' their assessment was, neither of us wanted to admit to our responses.

My sister's over-all title was 'Mastermind', and her number one match up was Cat-Woman from the Batman movies....Ha! I still laugh until the tears roll as that describes her to perfection. She was always coming up with these 'ideas' and 'plans' when we were growing up that were guaranteed to get us both a spanking.

It was a bit harder at first to laugh at my own result, but I've managed to 'own' it...

My over-all title was 'Barbarian', (ouch) and my number one match up was Lucy from Peanuts (you know the one who pulled the football out from in front of poor Charlie Brown over and over....the one who set up a stand and charged 5 cents for advice...yeah,her.) Who wants to be Lucy? Maybe Lucille Ball....heh heh.

Anyway, I hope you gained a laugh. And in the end, old 'Lucy' and I came to an agreement. We'd tone down the football snatching and concentrate more on charging the 5 cents...Ha! My sister calls that 'growing up'. She's the 'strategist', right?

DB: HA! That was fun and I like LucyJ

Again Nadja, thanks so much for being here!

Want more of Nadja? Check out her blog HERE

If you are interested in getting yourself an e-book of Claiming the Prize comment below and you will be entered. I will announce the winner next Friday!

If you're here to find out who my Killer Character Antagonist is you've come to the right place.

There is not a scarier antagonist then the balloon totin', kid killin' clown in the movie IT in my opinion. I have never looked at clowns the same since.

Nuff Said...eek!
Until next time…
Keep writing. Keep learning.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Warm Fuzzies and day two of Killer Characters!

This week begins the month long Warm Fuzzies Blogfest hosted by the uber-talented Juliana Brandt.

About the blogfest in her words:
For the next four weeks we’ll celebrate being writers and revel in the amazing community surrounding us. Sign up below and hop on over to the other blogs. Build your platform and most importantly, make some new friends :)
To start off the fest, we’re going to tackle the issue of those who aren’t in our community. How do you broach the subject of being a writer to other people who aren’t authors?

So this week we get to talk about how we tell people we are writers. Well, for the most part, I don't tell people, but when I have in the past it can often go something like this:

non-writer person: "So what have you been doing with yourself these days?"

me: "Well," pause, "I've kind of been writing."

non-writer person: "Writing? Really? What do you write?"

me: Looking down at my toes to hide the blush creeping into my face. "Oh nothing really, I wrote a young adult book."

non-writer person: A very exaggerated, "Oooohhh," followed by a forced laugh, "like that Twilight book huh?"

me: "Um, well, yes Stephenie Meyer does write young adult, but it isn't about vampires if that's what your asking."

non-writer person: "Yea I hear lots of people are doing that these days after her success. You should let me read it sometime. I'm very good at critiquing."

me: "Yea, I'm sure you are," fake smile, "anyways, how about those Cats." (I'm from Kentucky, hence the quick subject change to Kentucky Wildcats)

And that's it folks, the reason I choose to keep my lips sealed. It would seem certain people think I want to write not because I LOVE to write, but because other people did it and got rich. Go figure. Not to mention, I don't think there is one thing wrong with a healthy dose of motivation by successful writers by the way:) I get it from you all every well as Stephenie Meyer, Colleen Houck, Becca Fitzpatrick, Suzanne Collins, Cassandra Clare...and the list goes on. So thanks to you all! I just love writers:)

If you'd like to get in on this blogfest, do it now. She is giving away awesome prizes, one of which being a professional edit of your manuscript. HELLO! Go HERE to sign up.

Also, don't forget, Killer Characters Blogfest is on day two today. It's the Protagonist Challenge. I'd have to say my all time favorite is Alvin Maker from the Alvin Maker Series written by Orson Scott Card. If you haven't read those books, YOU SHOULD! Who is your favorite? Join in and tell us for a chance to win some pretty cool prizes.

Until next time...
Keep writing. Keep learning.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Choose Your Adventure and Killer Characters is here!

It's here folks! If you are here because of the Choose Your Own Adventure Bloghop and you chose to Open the doorway to the smaller dome, please read below. If you dont know what I'm talking about but it sounds fun, feel free to start your adventure now...

If you are here for the Killer Characters Blogfest, you can still get in on the action. Check out the deets HERE!

And now to continue your adventure...
Open the doorway to the smaller dome.

You stare back over your shoulder at the gargantuan monster and almost laugh at how familiar his snake eyes have become. It’s those eyes that urge you forward, like a parent sending you off to your first day of school. You are surprised at how much you would rather stay with the serpent than inch through this new door. The eerie black hallway lit only by white razor teeth at the end isn’t giving you the comfort escaping a massive monster is supposed to give. At least you can take off the breathing apparatus. You suck in air caring little that it’s dank and stale. Breathing on your own gives you the courage you need to move forward.

It doesn’t take long for the walk to seem never ending, and you’ve forgotten already how grateful you are to be breathing air. It’s cold, the stench of something is sitting rotten in your nostrils, and you’re bone tired. You reach out for something, anything to hold onto as you dare one last glance over your shoulder. Right as you see the strange monster friend is gone, your hand slides along a slimy, warm shape. You scream out, and your shaky legs find the adrenaline to bolt you toward the light. Anything ahead has to be better than what your mind has conjured up from the slime and stench in the dark.

The further you go, the larger the light ahead becomes until you begin to see it isn’t white jaws ready to gnash your limbs to shreds at all, but the reflection of sunlight against a vast body of water. A new doorway frames this odd land. Or have you found the doorway to your world? It matters little when you see the sandy beach and an endless stone path leading away from the underwater abyss you were sure would be your death.

Fear momentarily grips your insides as a man appears at the start of the path. You stop dead in your tracks as this tall man with mesmerizing blue eyes the color of the sea holds out his hand to you. The pull toward him is undeniable, but something else about him tickles your memory in an odd way and you wonder what you should do.

Do you take the man’s hand and let him lead you down the path?
Do you turn tail and run as fast as you can in the other direction?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Firsts Fridays: The Plot Whisperer, Martha Alderson

Anyone who reads my blog is probably sick to death of me mentioning the Plot Whisperer, but I tell you, she is fabulous. So fabulous in fact, that she accepted an invite to be interviewed for Firsts Fridays.

Martha Alderson (that is her real name, not really the Plot Whisperer just in case you didn’t know) isn’t really experiencing any firsts but she’s been there and also enjoys helping those that are.

Just check out her bio if you don’t believe me:

Martha Alderson has worked with hundreds of writers in sold-out plot workshops, retreats, and plot consultations for more than fifteen years. Her clients include bestselling authors, New York editors, and Hollywood movie directors. She lives in Santa Cruz, CA. Follow her blogworkshops, vlog, or follow her on twitter and faceboook

DB: First things first, congratulations on your new book coming out soon! Could you tell us a little bit about it?

MA: Thank you!

My intention in writing this book is to share the insights I have gained about plot and character, structure and form, thanks to years of teaching and consulting with writers from five years old to 102. I conduct plot workshops for writers of all genres who are intent on creating a worthy project. In one-on-one plot consultations, I listen to writers from all over the world recount scenes and visions for their stories. Throughout the process, I suggest plot parameters, offer tips on theme and character, and recommend tricks for layering and pacing.

The more writers I interact with, the more keenly I feel the universality and interconnectedness of our shared journeys through life together, especially those of us stubborn enough to pluck words from our imaginations and offer them to the world.

Anyone who wants to write or is in the process of writing a novel, short story, memoir, or screenplay faces the daunting task of creating several plots and multiple scenes. This book will guide you through the process of writing the story inside of you. Along the way I include Plot Whisper tips and exercises to improve your plotting skills, and The Writer’s Way advice about how to expand your writing life.

DB: I love how you not only help us as writers but you motivate us, push us through the rough patches. Thanks for that by the way.

What about yourself? Who is Martha Alderson? How did you get the name, The Plot Whisperer, and why have you decided to make it your job to help other writers out?

MA: I made up the name – The Plot Whisperer – when I started my blog of the same name. My intent for the blog was to use it to “debrief” after plot consultations with writers. I am usually energized after a session with lots of ideas and questions swirling around I believe are helpful to other writers so I use that space to share plot tips and insights into the writing process with a bit of inspiration thrown in.

DB: I have to say the name is fitting.

You have a wealth of information out there for writers, novelists, screen writers and play writers alike. I know what my favorite is (the You Tube plot series), but what would you say is your most helpful work to date?

MA: My new book: The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master is my most helpful work to date. I was filming the YouTube Plot Series: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay? while I was writing the book so the Plot Series is loosely the outline of the Plot Whisperer book. The book goes more deeply into the elements covered in the Plot Series with loads of examples from novels, memoirs, and screenplays.

The part of the book I am most excited about is the story beneath the story – the Universal Story and the message that writing is transformative. I hope writers come away from this book with practical techniques to integrate the energy of the Universal Story into their stories. After using these ideas, I believe writers will begin to understand themselves better. They’ll see their writing in a different light. The ways they interact with their writing and with the world around them will shift.

Writers imagine themselves into being writers. Their imaginations allow them to see worlds invisible to others. In my book, I invite writers to imagine the Universal Story into reality and reclaim a miraculous and mysterious way of being.

DB: Since I did this interview I’ve had time to read some of your book this book and I have to say, it is amazing! For those interested I am giving away a copy of it. Read below for more info.

Let’s say someone wants a one-on-one consult with you. Is that possible and if so, what is the difference between the one-on-one time versus someone simply reading your advice?

MA: Yes, I do plot consultations with writers from all over the world. The difference is that we work on the writer’s own particular story to develop a plot and discuss issues and questions and problems the writers has confronted, specific to their individual story.

DB: Sign me up is all I’ve gotta sayJ

What kind of guidance or encouragement can you give a writer who has sent out query after query only to get rejection after rejection?

MA: Go back and re-plot your story. Create a Plot Planner and then stand back from the story and assess what’s working and what may need additional time and attention.

DB: The Plot Planner is ingenious.

What is one of the biggest mistakes you see a new writer making?

MA: Giving away the backstory right up front. Telling rather than showing. Constantly going back over what they have written rather than forging ahead and writing to the end of the story. Until you write the climax, you can’t make informed decisions about the beginning.

DB: No joke, these three things are exactly what I did with my first novel. It’s so easy to keep going back.

Are there any parting words of advice you can give to us writers, old and new?

MA: Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. Learn to compensate for your weaknesses and rely on your strengths. Understand the writing process for what it is – a personal journey with the promise of ultimate transformation for not only your protagonist but for you as well.

DB: Thanks so much, Martha, for doing this interview! It is amazing to have someone so knowledgeable share their wisdom with us.

MA: Thanks for this opportunity, Deana!

If you’ve read the interview and are salivating over getting your fingers on a copy of Martha’s newest book, simply leave me a comment below for a chance to win. I will pick a winner next Friday. Good luck!

Can’t get enough Plot Whisperer? Check her out on her next blog tour stop:

Shreve Stockton at Honey Rock Dawn
As the author of the best-selling memoir, The Daily Coyote, Shreve shares first-hand experience with my plot techniques.
She is offering a book giveaway.

Until next time…

Keep writing. Keep learning.